Just over a half of the food manufacturers (53%) were aware of either the full guidance or the leaflet. 48% of these were aware of the full guidance, while 22% were aware of the leaflet (with some aware of both). Awareness of either was much higher among large businesses (81%) than ‘micro’ businesses i.e. those with fewer than 20 employees (37%). Around a half of small-medium sized businesses i.e. those with 20-249 employees were aware of the guidance.
Most manufacturers became aware of the guidance either through internet searches on ‘allergens’ leading to the guidance on the FSA website or, particularly in the case of smaller organisations, through their EHO or TSO.
Opinion of the guidance was very positive with 100% of manufacturers rating the full guidance as useful, while 74% did the same for the leaflet. Most of those that did not rate the leaflet as useful, rated the full guidance as useful i.e. the leaflet was not aimed at them and they were fine with this as they used the full guidance instead.
In addition, those manufacturers unaware of the guidance thought it would be useful. These respondents were read a short description of the guidance and asked to say how useful they thought it would be. 83% thought it would very or fairly useful. Over 80% of Enforcement Officers felt the full guidance and the leaflet were useful to both themselves and the businesses they work with. Indeed 96% of Enforcement Officers rated the leaflet as useful for themselves (mainly as an aide memoir) and 88% rated the full guidance as useful for the businesses they deal with. Manufacturers also told us that both the leaflet and particularly the full guidance have had a large impact on their business. Reading the documents had lead to most businesses doing something as a result, ranging from checking their current procedures to fundamental changes to the way they tackle allergens and allergen labelling.