The number of food and drink products being removed from shelves as a result of unreported allergens on packaging has grown 60% in the UK in the past year, due to growing pressure on food manufacturers to conform to EU food reporting standards.
The new EU legislation, which came into force in December 2014, states that allergens must be emphasised in the ingredients list.
Prior to the legislation, manufacturers carrying out product risk assessments for allergens may have considered the amount of allergens in a product so small that the risk was negligible.
EMW goes on to explain that the cost of food withdrawals could be hugely damaging to companies, with potential losses running into the hundreds of thousands, including transport and logistics, product destruction and legal fees
Companies could also suffer from the potential loss of customer loyalty as long-term customers find alternative products during periods of withdrawal.
Sebastian Calnan, consultant at EMW, explained: "Public scrutiny on food manufacturing has intensified greatly in recent years, often with good reason.
"However, the recent and seemingly heavy-handed crackdown on food manufacturers regarding allergen labelling has undoubtedly put a massive strain on the industry.
"With a large upswing in the number of food items being removed, food producers have to be extremely aware of the tough EU criteria to ensure they do not fall foul of the legislation and suffer from any subsequent losses to revenue.
"Loss of market share during withdrawal is a growing issue that companies have to face. Businesses increasingly have to put contingency strategies in place to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to allergen withdrawals, which in addition to the direct costs can be extremely expensive and burdensome."
Allergen legislation: all you need to know >>
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