The European Federation of Allergy (EFA), in co-operation with the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), organised an event to debate mechanisms to enhance the protection of the health of people with allergies.

The event hosted by MEP Renate SOMMER (EPP-DE) examined the characteristics of food allergy, the main elements of the new legislation (Regulation 1169/2011/EU), and recent developments on risk assessment in relation to food allergens. The event put forward the testimony of a patient living with the challenge of food allergy.

EU legislation on the provision of food information

In a nutshell, the new 1169/2011/EU Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (which combines Directive 2000/13/EC and Directive 90/496/EEC) keeps the basic principles but introduces new rules. It clearly lists the allergens in a clearer way and establishes an extension on the regulation’s scope in order to cover the not prepared food. It is important to note that the catalogue of allergens is exactly the same in the new legislation as it was before, but the list can be regularly updated (EFSA has the legal mandate to revise it). This revision or update can result either in the removal or the addition of a new allergen.

EFA’s opinion on the new regulation

This new regulation was welcomed by EFA as a positive step to enhance the protection of the health of people with allergies. Clear and understandable food information helps consumers make better-informed choices on foodstuff, what is crucial for people with food allergy, intolerance or with special dietary requirements where the wrong choice may make them ill or even be life-threatening.

EPHA activities in respect of food labelling

EPHA, which participated in this workshop, strongly appreciates that having an effective and protective food legislation is vital for safeguarding public health.

Since 2008, when the Commission presented its proposal for a regulation on the provision of food information to consumer, EPHA has closely followed the adoption process of the new legislation. EPHA position paper on Food Labelling states that “with regard to the obesity epidemic and its tremendous effect on social and economic development in Europe, EPHA believes that an efficient and understandable labelling is part of the first step to tackle the problem and provide better food information to consumers. We must empower European consumers to received better information as they understand their food choices.

Clear and consistent food labelling is essential not only for people with allergy but also for people with diabetes and other special diseases.

About the organisers

The European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA), a non-profit network of allergy, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients [[COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a condition in which the airways in the lungs become broken down and narrowed, often due to smoking cigarettes. Sometimes the air sacs are also damaged. As the lungs become more damaged over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe through the narrowed airways (also known as bronchial tubes). When the damage is severe, it may also become difficult to get enough oxygen into the blood and to get rid of excess carbon dioxide. These changes all lead to shortness of breath and other symptoms. Unfortunately, the symptoms of COPD cannot be completely eliminated with treatment and the condition usually worsens over time.]], was established in 1991 as a European network for patient associations specialising in allergy and asthma.

The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is an association of clinicians, researchers and allied health professionals dedicated to improving the health of people affected by allergic diseases. With over 7,400 members from 121 countries and 42 National Societies, EAACI is the primary source of expertise in Europe for all aspects of allergy.

For further information:

. The Parliament Magazine article about the event

. EFA website

. EAACI website

. EFSA website

. Commission

. The new 1169/2011/EU Regulation

EPHA-related articles and position papers:
EPHA position paper on Food Labelling
Tesco to use traffic lights labelling scheme in its food and drinks products
Baby milk products high on the political agenda

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