01 December 2021
Food Allergy
INFORM, - Food Safety

EFA participated in the 44th annual meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) between 8-13th November, with further sessions on the 15th and 17-18th November. As an observer, EFA follows closely the discussions within Codex and contributes with the perspective of food allergy patients. The meeting agenda looked into a broad range of issues around food, including discussions that are currently open in the various CAC committees. 

The EFA representatives to CAC, EFA Vice-President Marcia Podestá and Member Sabine Schnadt, attended the multi-day meeting with specific interest in the session on the Codex Committee on Food Labelling (CCFL). EFA’s specific interest centred around discussions on the use of technology for food labelling information. During the meeting, EFA highlighted the importance of ensuring that allergens and their derivatives are clearly identified for all food (prepacked, non-prepacked, and food sold through e-commerce) to allow consumers to make safe choices about what they eat. After all, food allergy is not a choice but a disease, and the only prevention for patients is the avoidance of allergenic foods.

Moreover, EFA followed the discussions on new food sources and production systems, as well as the exchanges on the WHO Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022-2030. As food sources and production systems encompass novel foods, we urged Codex to assess the impact of novel foods from a food allergy perspective. Based on its findings, Codex should then propose the necessary framework, including labelling, to inform consumers on the allergenicity and/or cross-reactivity potential of novel foods, an existing risk that we have seen being linked to some edible insects and shrimps. On the WHO Global Strategy, EFA reiterated its demand to include food allergy as a key food safety issue since it affects a large number of the world’s population and can lead to life-threatening conditions.

Finally, the CAC agenda also included the election of Steve Wearne, Director of Global Affairs at the Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom, as new Chairperson of CAC, replacing Guilherme da Costa from Brazil.