According to Food Standards Scotland (FSS), food allergies are becoming increasingly common, and recent consumer research shows that 15% of people surveyed either have a food allergy or have someone in their household with a food allergy.

FSS has launched a new food allergy alert service, whereby people in Scotland who have a food allergy or intolerance can sign up for text or email alerts, so that they’re first to know when there is an issue with missing or incorrect allergen information on food labels.

People can subscribe to the free service at the Food Standards Scotland homepage. The service gives the option to receive specific alerts about issues involving any of the 14 ingredients, which must be mentioned as allergens on food and drink packaging in the UK.

Information about the presence of the 14 allergens also needs to be available to consumers for food and drink products sold in restaurants, cafes, takeaways etc and loosely from deli counters, as well as premises selling food which has been packed on site such as boxed salads or packaged sandwiches.

Head of Food Standards Scotland’s Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit, Ron McNaughton, said: “Food allergies can significantly impact people’s quality of life, and Food Standards Scotland is here to make sure people with food allergies or intolerances have the information they need to make informed choices.

“We work closely with local authorities, food businesses, and the Food Standards Agency to make people in Scotland aware of any allergen information issues and we’d urge anyone with a food allergy in Scotland to sign up for tailored food allergy alerts by text or email. People can access the new service from the homepage.

“We’re pleased the World Allergy Organization is putting the global problem of food allergies in the spotlight with World Allergy Week.”