Assessment of the critical control points during domestic

Project Reference No.: 07-2014
Project Reference No.: 07-2014
Project Title: Food security for the food sensitive consumer on the island of Ireland
(Desk Research)
Objective/Knowledge Gap
How do consumers on the island of Ireland (IoI) who have a food sensitivity (food
allergy, food intolerance or coeliac condition), and who must adhere to an avoidance
diet, procure safe food?
What are the obstacles they face on a daily basis? What are the risks to health and
the impact on their quality of life?
supermarket/shop staff, online purchasing, farmer’s markets, etc.)?
In recent years, the use of precautionary allergen labelling by the food industry has
become pervasive.
Throughout the developed world, precautionary labelling is
available to food manufacturers as a voluntary option if they wish to use it on their
product labels. However, a number of recent surveys, including one carried out by the
FSAI in 2011, have returned a high ‘failure’ rate for food products with precautionary
allergen labelling, i.e. the product did not contain the allergen that the label had
cautioned against1. Unfortunately, for people with a food sensitivity, risk management
of their condition requires strict adherence to an avoidance diet and they have no
option but to assume the precautionary label is correct. The number of food products
that are out of bounds for those with food sensitivity can be significant. Furthermore,
the available range of ‘free-from’ foods – food products marketed as being free from a
particular allergen or allergens – is almost entirely limited to gluten-free while the
purchasing of products via the internet can be cost prohibitive and may carry
unforeseen risks.
The FSAI survey also showed that non-allergen labelled products could contain
allergens at levels that in some cases were high enough to indicate deliberate addition
as opposed to cross-contamination.
Between 2 and 5% of non-allergen labelled
Project Reference No.: 07-2014
products were found to contain peanut, egg and/or soya allergen. This may seem small
but it quantifies to some degree the risk for people with these allergies; a chance
encounter may have a serious outcome.
The safefood research will collate information on allergen labelling practices and the
production of focussed food products plus current options available for the food
sensitive consumer to acquire safe and suitable food products. The interplay between
these factors and how they influence the overall food security of the food sensitive
population on the IoI will be clarified. The research will set out to answer a number of
questions including:1. What analysis of the IoI market for free-from foods (peanut- and tree nut-free, eggfree, dairy-free, etc.) has been carried out?
2. What is the extent of pre-packed free-from food production on the IoI? Are there
data available for similar products imported and/or ordered online?
3. Has the export potential for free-from foods produced on the IoI been determined?
4. What are the key factors that trigger food manufacturers to apply precautionary
labelling to a food product?
5. Which food industry sectors are forthcoming with allergen information (including via
their websites)?
6. What are the costs for testing for food allergens in food matrices and where is this
carried out on the IoI?
7. Are the current precautionary statements, which have not been defined at
regulatory level, fit for purpose?
Can this information be expanded to give the
allergen status of the factory as well as the product?
8. Do we have examples of precautionary labelling that works? i.e. that gives balanced
logical information to the allergic customer to enable them to make an informed
choice while at the same time augmenting the due diligence defence of the food
9. In the context of the objective / knowledge gap, what are the experiences of food
sensitive consumers in other countries and are there any learnings therein that
would benefit their counterparts on the IoI?
Technical Specification
a) Final report.
The final report will detail the challenges faced by the food sensitive consumer on the
IoI in procuring safe food in the context of an avoidance diet.
It will make
recommendations as to how best the risks to consumer health and impacts on their
quality of life can be addressed and will also highlight any knowledge gaps that could
benefit from further focussed research.
Project Reference No.: 07-2014
b) Data Handling and Reporting.
1. The contractor is responsible for collating all outcomes and a final report will be
recommendations for possible further developments including IoI-specific research
2. All forms, documentation and electronic files must be retained by the contractor
until further notice from safefood in case of issues arising after the completion of
the research.
c) Quality Assurance.
1. The report must specify the sources of information, whether peer-reviewed
publications, expert consultations and correspondence, official policy material, etc.
2. safefood may convene a meeting with the contractors during the course of the
research to assess progress.
Evaluation of Tenders
Tender bids will be evaluated according to the quality of proposals and applicants using
the following criteria:
Quality of the proposal:
Anticipated deliverables;
Research method;
Value for money;
Potential for application;
Work plan, including the overall timeframe.
Quality of Applicants:
Experience in subject area;
Existing capacity to execute the project;
Quality Assurance and Quality Control measures in place.
Duration of Project
Estimated duration of the project: desk-based research for a period not exceeding 8
Project Reference No.: 07-2014
Scientific Aspects
Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Research Administration Office at
safefood for further information about this research project.
Tender Application Forms and Guidelines
The Tender Application Form and associated Guidelines can be downloaded from They can also be obtained by emailing,
quoting the project reference number 07-2014. Alternatively please contact safefood
as per the details below.
Ms Gillian Fox/Ms. Veronica Sheehan
Research Coordinator
Research Office
7 Eastgate Avenue
Little Island
Co. Cork
Tel: +353 21-2304100
Fax: +353 21-2304111
Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Monitoring & Surveillance Series: Food Allergens &
Labelling Survey. June 2011. Retrieved at