IFN 02-20 – Food allergen management

Date of effect: 19 February 2020


Food importers.


To remind importers of the importance of understanding the supply chain for foods they import and any potential for allergen cross contact to inform risk management including appropriate allergen labelling. Recent recalls of pesto and other products for undeclared peanut has highlighted this issue.

Key points

  • Allergen cross-contact occurs when an allergenic food, or ingredient, is unintentionally incorporated into another food that is not intended to contain it and is not labelled accordingly.
  • Allergen cross-contact can occur at any point in the supply chain, including growing, harvesting, storing, transporting, processing, manufacturing and packaging.  
  • Food importers should identify the potential for the food or ingredients they are importing to be contaminated with allergens. Seek assurances from overseas suppliers that controls are in place during primary production through to processing to prevent cross-contact of allergens.  Where contamination is unavoidable, labelling of the allergens is required.
  • Information on food allergen management and labelling for the food industry is available from the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Allergen Bureau.


There have been a number of food recalls related to undeclared allergens, in Australia and internationally.

Most recently, pesto and associated products were recalled because they contained an undeclared allergen (peanut). Peanut had contaminated one of the ingredients (processed cashew) used in these products. The recall included imported products and product manufactured in Australia from imported ingredients.

Information about these recalls can be found on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

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Last reviewed: 19 February 2020
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