Probe into food label needs
The Allergy Foundation of South Africa (Afsa) is investigating what information is and is not required on food labelling.
It is also probing what food industry regulations are there with regards to uncommon allergens.
Once finished, this will help those with allergies identify which foods they can and cannot eat.
According to Afsa, the food industry is monitored through a number of different regulations, including the Regulation Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (R.146).
This regulation stipulates how ingredients must be listed on packaging, the labelling of common allergens and disclosure of information in the case of uncommon allergens.
Afsa says all ingredients must be listed in descending order of mass and named as when sold as a single foodstuff.
The presence of common allergens in the product, or its packaging material, must be shown on the food label.
“If the food producer is unable to prevent allergen cross-contamination in the manufacturing environment, they are required to place precautionary allergen labelling statements (may contain) on their products,” Afsa said on its website.
Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services (Facts) says consumers can enquire with the manufacturers about the ingredients found in foods if they are not clearly marked. Consumers should read labels carefully.