Food Safety Qualifications | Highfield International

Vegan and vegetarian and premises and allergen control 

By Caroline Benjamin

The popularity of vegan diets has given false hope to the food hypersensitive (FHS) customer. So many vegan foods are labelled with a ‘May contains’ statement, and in some cases, it is because the foods (egg and/or milk) are prepared in the same factory or on the same lines as other foods or because the manufacturer/supplier has not carried out a full risk assessment to understand the risks and the actual contact that has been in place. In this case, they are using disclaimer statements disproportionately.

The vegan society states ‘It is especially important for people with allergies to understand food labelling. Companies have to highlight certain allergens on food labels, including the following animal allergens: shellfish, fish, milk, eggs and molluscs. If a risk assessment determines that a product may contain a major allergen, the label carries a warning.’

What does this mean?

The Vegan Society’s accredited trademark allows producers to use ‘May contains’ or ‘Not safe for…’ statements for any of the applicable 14 allergens. They do not currently have a strict protocol in place to ensure the elimination of animal proteins in their registered members’ products.


Visit here to read more on this subject from Alex Gazzola’s post on the Vegan Trademark confusion.

Another issue with vegan foods is the popularity of using pulses and legumes which is a food group within the allergy sector which is becoming an increasing issue, especially for young children. Pea protein is becoming a favourite ingredient in plant-based foods, being added to many processed foods including standard items such as chips.

Because pea protein is not one of the 14 allergens it can be difficult to obtain ingredient information within a hospitality setting. Some businesses do not keep labels or track the full ingredients, believing they only need to declare the14 major allergens. Natasha’s Law (Pre-Packed for Direct Sale) has added benefit for the FHS customer by providing full labelling, however, this is not available in all businesses that only provide loose foods. To find out more about pea protein visit here.

Contact information for Caroline Benjamin at Food Allergy Aware:


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