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07 October 2020
Food Allergy
- Food Safety

The 43rd annual session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was held from 24-26th September, and 12th and 19th October. It will also take place 5-6th November. CAC is the international body formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to set the global standards, guidelines and codes of practice for food safety. EFA Board and Codex Delegate Marcia Podestà attended all discussion sessions of the first virtual CAC meeting.

EFA is an observer to CAC since October 2019, where we represent the 17 million Europeans living with food allergies on issues related to Food Hygiene and Food Labelling.

During the 25 September agenda, one important issue for our community was the adoption of a Code of Practice  on Food Allergen Management for Food Business Operators. The document has been developed by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) and to which EFA has contributed, welcoming the work on food allergens and the intention to develop guidance for food business operators on how to apply a proper, meaningful risk assessment for unintended allergen presence.

While this guidance will be essential for the health of consumers with food allergies, it could not go unnoticed that CCFH deleted the references to Precautionary Allergen Labelling (PAL) from the working drafts the code of practice. This reportedly happened because of other relevant procedures taking place in parallel that might affect the document, including an ongoing WHO/FAO expert consultation under CCFL.

Both during the consultation process and in the session, EFA reiterated its support to explicitly include in the Code important references to Precautionary Allergen Labelling and quantitative risk assessment. Such references are vital to create and enhance awareness so that the document is in line with the outcomes of the other processes currently being developed by CAC.

While the Code was adopted as it stood, the organisers acknowledged after our statement the importance of addressing allergens to protect public health after our statement given by EFA Policy Advisor Panagiotis Chaslaridis. They took note of this request with a view to future work on the document.

Our comments, letters and consultation papers, as well as the statement, are the result of the collective work by the International Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Alliance and the EFA Food Allergy Working Group.

You can access the full statement here.

For more information on our work on Food Labelling visit our Food Detectives project.