On the 23rd and 24th March, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) held their second annual Food Hypersensitivity Symposium which brought together delegates from a variety of backgrounds including food business operators, local authority enforcement, clinical allergy specialists and allergy patient organisations. The Anaphylaxis Campaign was delighted to attend and to contribute to the interactive workshops debating key hot topics to ensure that the voice of those living with allergies was fully represented.
The two-day event began with an update from the FSA on the key priority work areas of the food hypersensitivity strategy. These include work on improving precautionary allergen labelling, a scheme for recording and monitoring adverse food allergic reactions as well as plans to develop an allergen information rating scheme for food businesses to give ‘at a glance’ allergen information to consumers when eating out. This was followed by talks from speakers on a range of topics from an industry perspective to the consumer viewpoint and included a brilliant talk from the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s Youth Ambassador Dan Kelly giving a great insight into eating out with a severe allergy as a young person.
Day two opened with a fascinating talk from Anaphylaxis Campaign clinical panel member Paul Turner, on his latest study which looked at changes in the rate of anaphylaxis and fatalities over the last 20 years. There then followed interactive workshops where all delegates participated in inspiring and lively debates on key topics. One topic looked at how to improve precautionary allergen labelling and the Anaphylaxis Campaign spoke in favour of introducing mandatory regulation for precautionary allergen labelling using allergen thresholds and standardising the terms used to improve safety and consumer confidence. Another topic delved into the issues around introducing a scheme to give food businesses an allergen rating in a similar way to the existing very successful food hygiene rating scheme (FHRS). The Anaphylaxis Campaign spoke in favour of expanding the existing FHRS to include allergen information.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign will continue to work closely with the FSA to ensure that progress is made in these key priority areas.
For further information about any of these topics please see the following Anaphylaxis Campaign resources: –