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The role of environmental health officers in the protection of allergic consumers

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Those suffering from serious food allergy are advised to avoid contact with the trigger allergens. However, it can prove difficult to avoid such food allergens, especially those hidden as unnamed components of composite foods. Many cases of serious illness and death following the accidental consumption of trigger foods, such as peanuts and other nuts, have been noted in the literature. This study reports the findings of a survey of the role of environmental health officers (EHOs) in Northern Ireland, in relation to the protection of the allergic consumer. This study shows that although EHOs use hazard analysis as a general method of improving food safety, this approach is not currently being applied in the control of the allergenic risks posed to sensitive consumers, consuming nut-and peanut-containing foodstuffs. This study has established that the main reasons for not applying HACCP systems in the reduction of this risk are related to concerns in relation to lack of knowledge and appropriate training in this subject.
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Keywords: AVOIDANCE; FOOD ALLERGY; HAZARD ANALYSIS; KNOWLEDGE; TRAINING

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Health Department, Omagh District Council, Omagh, BT79 7BL, Northern Ireland 2: University of Ulster, Jordanstown, BT37 0QB, Northern Ireland

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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