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Food-labelling law may prove to be life-saver

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Emma Sloan (14) who died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a  restaurant

Emma Sloan (14) who died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a restaurant

Emma Sloan (14) who died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a restaurant

Sufferers of common food allergies will benefit from a tightening up of the rules on labelling.

Peanuts, gluten, shellfish and dairy products are among the items that must be clearly labelled as loose foods as well as in pre-packed version.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has brought in the new laws that will come into effect on December 13, as required under EU regulations.

Similar measures are being adopted across Europe.

EU regulations cover everything from loose food in shops to food sold in restaurants, pubs and takeaways and by caterers and food stalls as well as food that is delivered.

"This is a significant measure for people who suffer from allergies to some of the most common food products," the minister said.

"Although allergens already have to be declared on pre-packed food, there is no such requirement for loose or non-pre-packed products."

Caroline Sloan, whose daughter Emma (14) went into anaphylactic shock after ingesting peanut sauce and died in her arms on the street in Dublin city centre last December, welcomed the development as a potential life-saver.

"It's a step in the right direction," she told the Herald.

Emma unwittingly ate a nut-based sauce at a restaurant and suffered a fatal reaction.

PETITION

"I'm not blaming the restaurant, because there was a sign saying 'nuts contained', but it just wasn't noticed," Ms Sloan said at the time.

Her petition for anti-allergy injection pens - EpiPens - to be made widely available in public places will be handed over to Mr Varadkar this month.

fdillon@herald.ie


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