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Plain English allergen labelling good news for consumers – NZFS

New requirements to make it easier for people to find information about common allergies on food labels come into effect on Sunday.

New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle says the changes are good news for people with food allergies.

“For the up to 8% of New Zealanders who have food allergies the consequences of eating the wrong food can be serious, from swelling, hives and vomiting to anaphylaxis.

“People lead busy lives so food labelling needs to be as simple, clear and easy to find as possible to be effective.

“Food Safety Australia New Zealand, with input from NZFS, got valuable feedback from people affected by food allergies to help make sure the changes were effective and practical,” says Mr. Arbuckle.

All food packaged and labelled after Sunday [25 February 2024] must declare allergens or provide statements about the contents where appropriate. The requirements will vary depending on how the food is packaged, labelled and sold and risk that needs to be identified. Under the changes, potentially life-threatening common allergens must be listed in bold in the ingredients list and summarised in a ‘contains’ statement on the label.

Any food packaged and labelled before 25 February 2024 under the previous allergen labelling rules can continue to be sold until 25 February 2026.

Foods at cafes or restaurants including takeaways are not required to be labelled but must be displayed with the food such as listed on the menu, or provided to the customer on request.

 

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