Food allergies and perceptions towards food allergen labelling in Mauritius

Soogali, Bibi Madina amiina nabiilah and Soon, Jan Mei orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0488-1434 (2018) Food allergies and perceptions towards food allergen labelling in Mauritius. Food Control . ISSN 0956-7135

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There remains a paucity of research in food allergies in Sub-saharan Africa. It is the aim of this study 4 to determine the self-reported prevalence of food allergies and consumers’ perceptions towards food 5 allergen labelling in Mauritius. A survey was conducted in four supermarkets in the Municipalities of 6 Vacoas-Phoenix, Quatre-Bornes and Moka during the period of September to November 2017. The 7 questionnaire was designed based on previous studies and administered using a face-to-face 8 interview approach to increase completion rate. Descriptive analysis and one-way ANOVA between 9 subjects design were conducted. Shellfish was reported as the most common causative agent 10 followed by fish, egg and peanut. Respondents were satisfied with the current font size and general 11 information provided in food labels. Respondents agreed that it could be problematic to identify 12 suitable foods for individuals suffering from food allergies or intolerances. Variations of PAL 13 statements and generic terms provided in food labels, and location of allergy warnings were cause for 14 concern. More than 80% of the respondents felt that allergens in ingredient list should be emphasised 15 (e.g. bold font) and plain English or French language should be used to describe allergenic 16 ingredients. The findings in this study provide practical insights on food allergen labelling issues for 17 policy makers and stakeholders in the food supply chain. Determining the prevalence of food allergies 18 in the country will inform policy makers to consider adding shellfish and other major allergenic 19 ingredients to the list of ingredients requiring mandatory allergen warning label in Mauritius

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