How serious are we about allergies and allergens?
How much significance do we place on effective competent communication of allergens in products to customers?
How serious are allergies in terms of our health response as well as the amounts of people suffering from this condition?
What are the consequences when something goes wrong?
Recently, I have been looking back at the information we receive from FSA (Food Standard Agency) via updates and food alerts. They usually arrive by email, warning of potential dangers, what they are and what products have been affected. Food alerts can range from ‘salmonella in a product’ to ‘a missing ingredient on the label’.
Which one, do you think, sounds more daunting? Salmonella? For some certainly or perhaps for us all? Eating food contaminated with high levels of Salmonella could have catastrophic effects on us all. The fact that young children, the elderly or people with a weakened immune system are more at risk makes things even worse, even terrifying considering the consequences!
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What about if an ingredient (possible allergen) in a product but missing from the label? Does it petrify us? What about the consequences of this potentially dangerous situation? Will it affect us all? Perhaps only those with an allergy to a particular ingredient will be affected?
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So, how much weight do we put on these two potential dangers? Are they both of a similar significance? Do we approach them in the same way?
The consequences could be of a similar severity; however, the number of potential victims of one particular foodborne disease outbreak could surpass the victims of lacking allergen ingredient on a label. It does not mean, though, that the ‘label’ situation is less important or dangerous. Especially, if you consider that this affected person could be you or someone close to you or that you know and the effect is often life threatening.
Only this year in January 2019, I received no less than 12 Updates from FSA. How many of these, do you think, were ‘Allergy alerts’?
There were 10 allergy alerts and two other food alerts
Think about this, plan to prevent this and act on this before it’s too late.