Used voluntarily by manufacturers on pre-packaged food to indicate the possible presence of ingredients, that people may be allergic to, consumers have raised concerns of 'overuse' and that its 'unnecessary use' on certain products undermines valid warnings.
People with food allergies need to be extremely careful about the food they eat, and labelling of pre-packaged food is very important for them,' said the FSA.
As such, the UK's food watchdog is consulting on the alternative phrases : 'Not suitable for peanut/nut/sesame allergic consumers' and 'Not suitable for people with peanut/nut/sesame allergy'.
The phrases are the result of various strands of work by the agency, including a report commissioned by the FSA, a focus group review of consumer attitudes, and a stakeholders meeting.
'The report shows that the labelling of products that may contain nut traces is far from consistent and, rather than being helpful for people with nut allergy, the labelling is often confusing and difficult to read and locate,' said the agency.
'More informative statements on labels for products that might be contaminated with allergenic ingredients, such as peanuts, nuts and sesame seeds, which can cause severe reactions at low levels,' are needed, added the government-funded body.
Following the consultation, the most appropriate alternative phrase will be inserted into the agency's Clear Labelling Advice, under the section on ingredients listing information on allergens. According to the FSA, manufacturers will also be encouraged to include additional information, explaining why the product is not suitable for allergic consumers.