Also known as
𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐀𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲 𝐋𝐚𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 (𝘗𝘈𝘓)
This is of extreme importance to improve the quality of life of allergy sufferers.
Despite its existence, often, there are still episodes of allergic reactions.
Almost half of adult patients have suffered moderate to severe allergic reactions to pre-packed food.
Recent research has shown both allergic and non-allergic sufferers struggle to understand what the different 𝘗𝘈𝘓 mean.
In fact, they incorrectly associate different wording to different risk levels.
The higher the health education of people in the study, the more they would give different risk levels to various food labels.
Interestingly, non-allergy sufferers give a higher risk to food labels than allergy sufferers.
According to the research, consumers felt “𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲” was associated with less risk than “𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧” or “𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟”.
To make matters worse, a high proportion of allergy sufferers do not read 𝘗𝘈𝘓 and rely on their own previous experience.
The problem is that there are 𝐧𝐨 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬 on 𝘗𝘈𝘓 wording or when they should be used.
It is also not compulsory in the 𝐄𝐔, being of voluntary use by producers.
In the 𝐔𝐊, it became compulsory due to 𝘕𝘢𝘵𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘢’𝘴 𝘓𝘢𝘸.
There is an urgent need to enforce legislation, making the wording better and clearer.
It would start with the sole use of “𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧” in 𝘗𝘈𝘓, this way levelling the information, potentially decreasing the risk for all allergy sufferers.
Dr Costa is a Consultant Paediatrician and fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.