IFST Launches New Food Allergens Knowledge Hub

We have launched a new IFST Food Allergens Knowledge Hub to help consumers, food businesses and educators source the best practice advice about allergen risks and packaging.

Our new library of resources signposts visitors to credible guidance food industry bodies and government agencies, alongside additional complementary IFST knowledge resources. It has been developed by an IFST Working Group, many of whose members have first-hand experience of allergies and their consequences. The hub has sections for small businesses and caterers, medium and large businesses and educators.

We also provide specific guidance for consumers to help them understand the latest allergen legislation. From Friday 1 October 2021, new allergen labelling requirements are being introduced for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food products in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Up to two million people suffer from a food allergy in the UK (affecting around 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children). [i] Consequently, the identification, control and communication regarding food allergens has always been a critical issue throughout the food supply chain. 

As the subject of allergens and the implications for food businesses has been brought into even sharper focus, our online knowledge hub (which is free to access) provides reliable, up-to-date resources for all those needing clear and trusted, scientifically evidence-based information.

Our Working Group continues to work closely with our IFST member communities, other professional bodies and the government to equip everyone with the best advice to navigate the new allergen labelling changes.

Members of the Working Group: Hazel Gowland FIFST, Prof Michael Walker FIFST, Sarah Howarth FIFST.

And from the IFST Team: Natasha Medhurst FIFST and Rachel Ward FIFST.

Access the IFST Food Allergens Knowledge Hubhttps://www.ifst.org/food-allergens-knowledge-hub

Hazel Gowland FIFST, says “Food businesses and food hypersensitive consumers continue to adapt to considerable change when sourcing and providing food and drink, not least with the food labelling amendment. These carefully prepared resources provide much needed practical expert guidance for a wide range of audiences.”

Professor Michael Walker FIFST commented: “It was a pleasure to contribute to the resources in the IFST food allergy/allergens knowledge hub, working with expert colleagues and IFST project management. I look forward to widespread use of the hub to enable businesses of all sizes to provide safe well-labelled food for people with food allergies.”

Sarah Howarth FIFST, also said: “Allergens continue to impact a significant number of the population with potentially tragic consequences when food safety systems fail. It has been a pleasure to contribute to the development of the IFST allergen resource hub designed to support food businesses and consumers in the development of a deeper understanding of allergen identification, management and communication.” 

  [i] Source: Anaphylaxis Campaign. 2021. Facts and Figures. [online] Available at: <https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/information-training/facts-and-figures/> [Accessed 28 September 2021].