This presentation will review the UN Food & Agriculture Organization's recommendations of the Precautionary Allergen Labeling, including the prerequisite conditions, and the associated data-gathering and monitoring responsibilities of food manufacturers.
When it comes to food allergen labeling, getting it right can be a matter of life and death. Clear, complete, and accurate information is crucial for ensuring consumer safety. Despite this, the widespread use of confusing allergen advisory statements continues to create misunderstanding, distrust, and unnecessary risk. The need to address the problems caused by the uncontrolled use of advisory labels (also known as Precautionary Allergen Labeling, PAL) has become urgent enough that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization asked an expert consultation to provide advice on how to improve the situation. The expert panel concluded that all PAL should use the same wording to tell sensitive consumers that a product is “not suitable” for them. They further advised that manufacturers should determine whether a PAL is appropriate for each food product. According to the panel, this determination should be based on a “risk-based” assessment that involves comparing anticipated consumer exposure to allergen-specific RfDs. Implementation of this approach, while technically appealing, would only be appropriate under the limited conditions specified by the panel and would require significant effort by a manufacturer. This presentation will review the panel recommendations, including the prerequisite conditions, and will describe the associated data-gathering and monitoring responsibilities of a manufacturer.