Local businesses prepare for new legislation affecting food labelling

Changes to mandatory allergen labelling requirements means it’s not only what’s on the inside that counts when it comes to food.

Businesses will need to put more detail into what’s on the outside label of their product, after The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code was amended earlier this year.

An industry workshop hosted by TSBE in collaboration with BVAQ was recently held in Toowoomba to provide an update on the new requirements.

Food Safety Manager, Jasmine Lacis-Lee said it was also a chance to discuss some emerging issues in the allergens space, and what that might mean for the food industry supply chain.

Allergens are currently the leading reason for recalls in Australia and have been since 2013, with errors in packaging or wrong product, wrong pack driving these statistics.

“The change in the legislation has really come about from trying to ensure that allergen labelling is clear and concise for the allergic consumer.”

“Industry has three years to comply with the new Plain English Allergen Labelling (PEAL) changes, so businesses need to be updated and prepared” she said.

BVAQ Business Development Manager Donna Blackhall said recall is one of the biggest issues for companies.

“If the labelling isn’t correct, there is the opportunity that the product could be recalled and it’s one of the biggest risk factors and cost to a business.”

“At BVAQ we provide services that help organisations to actually take the necessary analytical allergen testing to ensure that their labelling is correct,” she said.

Attendees of the workshop held at TAFE Queensland were advised not to panic due to the changes, but research and educate themselves and to create a plan to meet the new requirements.

Emily Pullen, CEO of Jim’s Jerky was an attendee and acknowledged the importance of staying up to date with allergen changes.

“The workshop has been really informative with the nature of being able to ask questions.”

“We can log in and look at the legislation, but actually having a subject matter expert answer our questions is really good,” said Ms Pullen.