Additional communication initiatives

The ingredients list on the label of a product is the most accurate way of assessing the suitability of a product for a sufferer of allergies. However, reading labels is a laborious and time-consuming process and makes shopping a lengthy ordeal. Most companies and retailers now produce lists of products free from key allergens which make food selection much quicker and easier. The lists are available from the companies directly and are often on the Internet. Once again peanut and nut allergies are often handled as a special case, as they are the most common food causes of anaphylaxis. 'Free-from' lists are updated every six months to reflect any changes that may have occurred. Users of lists are also advised to check ingredients' lists, particularly where a 'new recipe' or 'new improved' flash indicates a recipe change. In the case of anaphylactic reactions information must always be accurate and up to date. Peanut and nut-free lists are often controlled closely and carry a 'Use by' date after which that list is invalid and recipients are asked to contact the company for an update. During the 'shelf life' of the list it is recommended that the names and addresses of all recipients are held. Should any changes occur to that list whilst it is 'live', all recipients can be contacted to advise them of the changes and will be issued with a new list and asked to discard the old one. The distribution of the list to third parties such as dietitians and doctors is not supported, as this removes control of the list from the company. If a change occurred to a list, the company would rely on the health professional remembering which patients had received the list from them to pass on the update. These detailed procedures ensure that the company has tight control over this list at all times and can do everything they can to help sufferers of allergies to select suitable foods with confidence.

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