Public attitudes and understanding of allergens and food labelling


  • Elliot Mackie


allergens, food labelling, pre-packaged foods, Natasha’s law, food business allergen labelling, risk assessment legislation


The world of food allergens is forever changing and so laws, information and questions are being constantly developed. In recent years this has related to food labelling of pre-packaged foods for direct sale. There are few studies showing the attitudes and understanding of the United Kingdom (UK) public following the introduction of Natasha’s Law (one of the newest pieces of legislation in relation to labelling of allergens). This caused the researcher to organise a study in attempt to gain an insight of public attitudes and understanding of allergens and food labelling. Forty-one participants responded to invitation using the researcher’s personal Facebook and LinkedIn account. Data was analysed by the researcher. Data was compared to existing literature in attempt to find similarities and differences and develop new study questions. Results were analysed and cross tabulated to see if attitudes or understanding differed depending on the demographic. Whilst different responses and different conclusions could be drawn from the data, the researcher was satisfied that the attitudes and levels of understanding was positive, except for anomalies. Some demographics had more negative attitudes towards certain aspects of the survey. For example, the views held by those who had a background in catering were much more negative towards the question asking how much trust they have in food business allergen labelling. From examining the data of the understandings and attitudes of the UK public it was clear, when comparing it with the data from the literature, that understanding has slightly improved. However, it was also clear that positive attitudes and good understanding did not transfer into good practice. One recommendation is to review and reflect upon current employee training and risk assessment legislation. This study has shown that there is a need for further research within this field. Hopefully, this study can be used in the future as a platform for further research.