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When food labelling fails

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When we select food from shops or supermarkets, we immediately put our faith in the labelling. We trust that it will give us a true statement of the ingredients and nutritional information of what we’re about to eat.

One vitally important piece of food labelling is allergy information. Thousands of people throughout the UK suffer from various food allergies and intolerances. Nut and seafood allergies and gluten intolerance are probably some of the most common but there are countless others that are a little rarer, such as celery and soya allergies for example.

For some, consuming foods containing ingredients to which they are allergic can be incredibly dangerous, or even fatal. Anaphylaxis and asthma are just two of the perilous conditions that can come about after ingesting particularly risky ingredients such as seafood or nuts. And whilst not quite in the same league danger-wise, ingredients which are usually avoided by, for example, coeliacs or those who are lactose-intolerant, can cause very unpleasant digestive problems.

Recent supermarket recalls

Food manufacturers, distributors and retailers have a legal duty to provide accurate information on their food labelling. Just in the past two months, according to the Food Standards Agency, several supermarkets have recalled a range of food products which have had information missing from their ingredients listings.

Recently, supermarket giant Morrisons recalled two types of its pâté because although it contained gluten, this was not included in the allergy advice section on the product labels.

Also last week, Manufacturer Greencore issued a food recall on one of its cheesecakes sold through Morrisons because the labelling had failed to state that it contained egg. And earlier in the month, both the Co-Op and Sainsbury’s recalled all their Lentilles Vertes of which some contained wheat, although this was not highlighted on the packaging. These are just a small number of the many recalls that prompted the Food Standards Agency to issue Allergy Alerts in the past month.

When food labelling fails, and consumers become ill as a result of eating something they would normally avoid, they may have a right to claim personal injury compensation.

At Stephensons, we have a strong team of personal injury solicitors with experience in pursuing all types of claims, including claims for illnesses caused due to defective food labelling. If you or a member of your family has suffered because of a food manufacturer’s failure to provide the correct information on their labelling, we can help. Call us on 01616 966 229 and we’ll give you the advice you need to get your claim started.

By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney