FSA consultation on ‘May Contain’ guidance

FSA consultation on ‘May Contain’ guidance

  • 29 March 2023
  • Business News

The Food Standards Agency is seeking views on new advice for how and when to apply precautionary allergen labelling (PAL).

PAL is extra written allergen information on food packaging to explain that an allergen may be in a food even though it is not an intended ingredient. An example of PAL is “may contain nuts”, but under the new advice, food businesses should specify which of the 14 major allergens their PAL refers to – for example, using “may contain peanuts” or “may contain tree nuts”. 

The FSA is recommending that PAL should only be applied following a risk assessment, to ensure consumer safety and choice are not unnecessarily affected. They are also seeking views on new guidance that PAL should not be applied for the same allergen that products are claiming to be “free-from”. This means products labelled as “dairy free”, cannot be labelled with a “may contain milk” statement.

The updated guidance also advises businesses not to use No Gluten Containing Ingredients Statements (NGCIs), such as “this menu has been designed for a non-gluten diet”. The FSA recommends that only the phrases “gluten free” or “low gluten” be used, because NGCIs have been found to mislead consumers.

 If you wish to respond to the consultation, visit the consultation page. Closes Monday 22 May.