Less than half of the consumers find allergy information on food labels to be clear

When researchers evaluated consumers' understanding of allergy information on food labels, less than half of individuals found the information to be clear.

The study, which is published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, involved two separate experiments with a total of 96 consumers with food allergies and 105 without. Investigators first randomly presented 18 different food products with labels suggesting peanut was, may be, or was not an ingredient, and then they presented three different formats of information: 'Produced in a Factory' and 'May contain' or 'Traces of'. Precautionary allergen labels (PALs) were especially problematic, with consumers attributing anything between 2% and 99% risk of a reaction and anything between 1% and 98% comprehensibility assessments. This suggests that precautionary statements such as 'may contain peanut' have little value for consumers and may lead to inappropriate dietary restrictions or risk-taking behavior.

Also, many consumers interpret 'Produced in a factory' to reflect a weaker warning than 'May contain'. From a communication perspective, it's logical for consumers to attribute different risk levels to warnings worded differently. But since producers probably mean to communicate the exact same level of risk with each of these different warnings, we advise to use only PAL wording."

Bregje Holleman, PhD, Lead Author, Utrecht University, in The Netherlands

Source:
Journal reference:

Holleman, B.C., et al. (2021) Poor understanding of allergen labelling by allergic and non-allergic consumers. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. doi.org/10.1111/cea.13975.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
You might also like... ×
World renowned immunologist named chief of Feinberg's Division of Allergy and Immunology