Declaration of conflict of interest: Katrina J Allen receives speaker's honorarium from Pfizer, Abbott and Danone. No other interest to declare.
Precautionary allergen labelling following new labelling practice in Australia
Article first published online: 12 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 49, Issue 4, pages E306–E310, April 2013
How to Cite
Zurzolo, G. A., Mathai, M. L., Koplin, J. J. and Allen, K. J. (2013), Precautionary allergen labelling following new labelling practice in Australia. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49: E306–E310. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12138
- Issue published online: 11 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 12 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 FEB 2012
- Victoria University
- NHMRC Capacity Building Grant
- Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program
- food allergy;
- precautionary labelling;
- Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL)
We aimed to assess the prevalence and types of precautionary labelling statements for common food allergens on the packages of products for which these allergens were not listed as an ingredient and to investigate the uptake of the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling, a new risk management tool developed in Australia to assist with declaring the possible presence of allergens in food products by manufacturers. We also aimed to examine changes in the prevalence of precautionary labelling for egg, peanuts and tree nuts over a 3-year period.
All packaged processed goods in a large supermarket in Melbourne, Australia, were examined for precautionary labelling between May and July 2011.
In total, 1355 products were investigated. Overall, 882 products (65%) had a precautionary statement for one or more allergens. The most common allergens listed on precautionary statements were tree nuts (36.2%) and peanuts (34.1%), followed by sesame (27.5%) and egg (22.6%). Of those that had precautionary statements, ‘May contain traces of …’ was the most common type of precautionary label used on 392 products (29.0%). This was followed by ‘May be present’ on 172 products (12.7%).
The use of precautionary labelling for peanut, tree nuts and egg remained high. The uptake of the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling ‘May be present’ statement was low in comparison with other precautionary statements, but there has been an increase since 2009.