Researchers push for tighter food labelling regulations

Researchers push for tighter food labelling regulations

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Study reveals unclear labels are causing anaphylactic reactions

A study has raised concerns that unclear allergy labelling on food is causing an increase in anaphylactic reactions nation-wide.

The facts:

It is mandatory for the manufacturers of packaged foods to declare any possible allergens and provide a list of ingredients used during processing. However, it is still voluntary for a company to provide a list of allergens that are present in the final products.

Phrases such as “may contain traces” aren’t compulsory if the food has accidentally come into contact with foods that could trigger anaphylaxis. These foods are known as trigger foods and are of the highest concern. They include such things as peanuts, other tree nuts, cashews, milk, eggs, walnuts, sesame seeds and prawns.

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, the risks of misleading labelling could lead to serious impacts for people who suffer from allergies, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

A conjunction study performed between the Royal Children Hospital, the University of Sydney, and the University of Melbourne, surveyed 864 Australians with allergies and anaphylaxis over the course of nine months.

During the study, 6.7% reported experiencing reactions to foods where the suspected allergen was not listed. 8.6% of the group also claimed there was no “may contain” precautionary labelling.

What needs to be done:

Currently, 60% of all foods in Australian grocery stores have “may be present” and “may contain traces” statements. However, the 40% that aren’t labelled, create a great deal of confusion amongst those who suffer. The resultant anxiety of the situation for people with severe allergies leaves many second-guessing their food choices.

Researchers are urging Australians to tighten their regulations for food labelling around allergens. By making these precautions mandatory, or by making packaging clearer, it will have a positive impact on those who do run the risk with allergies.

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