The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is seeking the views of businesses on the use of precautionary allergen information on food packaging.

Although FSA studies have found that consumers with food allergies, intolerances or coeliac disease appreciate labelling that informs them about avoidable allergen cross-contamination risks, they also revealed that some consumers are confused by the range of statements used.

According to the FSA, the wording of precautionary labelling statements – often written as ‘may contain’ – on prepacked foods such as chocolate bars, biscuits and other products sold in supermarkets, can differ between products. This can result in confusion about the precise nature of the risk.

Views are sought from businesses, local authority teams, healthcare professionals, allergy charities, consumers and any other interested parties through a consultation and a series of online workshops. More information about how to take part can be found here.

FSA director of policy, Rebecca Sudworth, said: “Consumers have told us that inconsistency in how precautionary allergen labelling and information is given can cause a lack of trust in the labels and stop them being able to enjoy certain foods. 

“We know that precautionary allergen information is difficult for businesses and local authorities responsible for enforcing the law, and we very keen to hear from them about how to make the law clearer and easier to follow.

“The responses we get will help inform our next steps in making a workable system for businesses to put into practice that consumers understand and trust.”