How to Read a Free Form Label Properly
The purpose of this article is to show the importance of properly labelling allergen containing food in order for all parents to be able to easily identify whether a particular meal contains the appropriate ingredients for their child to consume.
A recent statistic shows that in Europe around 17 million people are affected by food allergies. Under EU law there are 14 allergens which must be properly labelled so that their consumption can be avoided and properly regulated – peanuts, fish, milk, eggs, mustard, lupin, celery, sesame, tree nuts, cereals containing gluten, soybeans, molluscs, sulphur dioxide, crustaceans (Scott – Thomas, 2012). In UK itself in November 2005 the law for proper food labelling came into existence, based on the concept that all ingredients including those derived from allergenic food should be enlisted on the food label. This has been urgently insisted upon since almost 10 people a year die from allergic reactions to food (Allergy: What to Consider When Labelling Food?, n.d.). Although, in EU the food labelling rules would be changing in December 2012, we would like to guide you step by step through the process of reading the food labels properly by understanding their content.
Step 1: Figure out the exact ingredients to which your child is allergic. The picture on the right summarizes the ones you need to consider while buying a food product. If your child is allergic only to several of them, stay alert for the contents of the product.
Step 2: Make sure youread the label properly. The photo below is included for the purpose of providing you with clear visual aid and orientation as to what to look for while buying healthy free form food. By regulation, the ingredient list should be presented in a
consequent manner starting from the one containing the most percentage. The allergy advice section depicts the ingredients that are included in the product in order for the allergic consumers to avoid them (On the label, 2012).
Step 3: Think allergy. Be sure you understand the entire contents list of the particular product and always pick up the ‘’free form’’ if your child is highly allergic to most of the above mentioned food ingredients.
We hope that these three basic tips have been of use to you, our readers. Although, simple in representation they are the determinants of our food consumption choice. The follow up to the first part of our article would be a short description of the meals that your child needs to avoid while eating outside in a restaurant.
Being a parent of an allergic child is quite stressful. It raises your motherly and parental instincts and makes you more cautious towards food consumption. However, this should not allow you to avoid your children’s needs, which with the increase in age may result in their desire from time to time to eat outside with their friends either at a restaurant or in a café. This is an important phase of growing up and making them feel as an integrated part of a healthy society is your responsibility. Therefore, make them feel as comfortable as you can by preliminarily reviewing and researching the cooking habits of different cuisines. In order to facilitate your search we have examined below 4 cuisines and highlighted some of the meals that should be avoided because of some allergen ingredients (In the restaurant, 2012).
DD Team hopes that this journey through the variety of allergen ingredients was useful to all our readers. For additional information you may refer to the link provided below.
Food Standards Agency. (2012). In the restaurant. Retrieved from http://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/english/in-the-restaurant/chinese.aspx
Food Standards Agency. (2012). On the label. Retrieved from http://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/english/on-the-label/
Food Standards Agency. (n.d.). Allergy: What to Consider When Labelling Food? Retrieved from http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/allergyleaflet.pdf
Scott – Thomas, C. (2012, November 27). Reflecting Allergen Risk with Food Labelling: ‘’Free – form’’ and ‘’May contain’’. Retrieved from http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Reflecting-allergen-risk-with-food-labelling-Free-from-and-may-contain
Allergy Free Products. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.face-of-flowers-organic.co.uk/Allergy-free-products.html
Culliney, K. (2012, July 17). Allergen Management and Labelling in the UK: Up to Scratch? Retrieved from http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/Allergen-management-and-labelling-in-the-UK-Up-to-scratch
Food Standards Agency. (n.d.). Food allergen labelling. Retrieved from http://www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/allergyintol/label/#.UKDTjIeGtgg
Food Standards Agency. (n.d.). Labelling Guidance. Retrieved from http://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/guidancenotes/labelregsguidance/#.ULtFU4OGtc5
SR Nutrition. (2012, October 26). Label Reading – Making consumers aware… Retrieved from http://www.srnutrition.co.uk/2012/10/label-reading-making-consumers-aware