With this year’s World Accreditation Day (9 June) focusing on food safety, Bureau Veritas is pressing food organisations to pay closer attention to accurate allergen labelling, especially as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the industry
Jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), World Accreditation Day is a global initiative to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation.
This year’s theme focuses on how accreditation supports food safety, highlighting how it ensures competent and impartial inspection, certification and testing services in every part of local, national, and international food chains.
In light of this, global health and safety expert Bureau Veritas has stated that accurate food allergen labelling has never been more important to ensuring food safety, particularly as producers, takeaway restaurants and delivery services have seen a surge in demand during the recent coronavirus lockdown.
Tracy Wain, Food Safety Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, comments: “This year’s World Accreditation Day and its focus on food safety comes during a very challenging time for the food industry due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic."
“Hospitality closures have forced many outlets to offer takeaway-only services for the first time during the lockdown, and have had to quickly develop new contact-free and cashless delivery and takeaway collection methods. As such, the way in which allergen information is given to customers may have had to change."
“Meanwhile, food manufacturers are not only having to deal with supply-chain disruptions they are perhaps having to operate in a different way to ensure that social distancing can take place throughout the work place."
“Amid these urgent priorities, not to be overlooked is the need for businesses to still ensure they are correctly labelling the 14 allergens set out by the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) guidance – as required by law. This is vital to bolstering the confidence of consumers, suppliers, purchasers, and specifiers in the quality and safety of food as well as maintaining accreditation.”
According to Bureau Veritas, the food industry has been under increased pressure in recent years to provide accurate food allergen and ingredients labelling - and the coronavirus pandemic has only heightened this requirement.
Tracy adds: “Consumers, the FSA and the government will expect this as the standard going forward. The good news is, with much of the industry already overhauling their operations and introducing new ways of working, now is the perfect time create, review and implement robust systems for food labelling, as ultimately, it could help to save lives.”
Bureau Veritas offers a wide range of robust certification and compliance services aimed at the food sector. The health and safety team has recently released its ‘Restart Your Business’ service, providing a voluntary, independent assessment of a firm’s COVID-19 readiness to re-open their business premises.