Communication needs and food allergy: an analysis of stakeholder views


  • S. Miles
  • R. Crevel
  • G. Chryssochoidis
  • L. Frewer
  • K. Kate Grimshaw
  • A. Guidonet Riera
  • H. Gowland
  • R. Knibb
  • P. Koch
  • C. Madson
  • C. Mills
  • S. Palkonen
  • S. Pfaff
  • R. Roccaldo
  • J. Scholderer
  • O. Ueland
  • E. Valovirta
  • W. Verbeke


At present, the most useful approaches to communicating information about food allergy to different stakeholder groups are not understood. Stakeholders include allergic consumers, their carers, health professionals, public authorities (regulators and compliance authorities), retailers, manufacturers, caterers and the general public. Communication needs are reviewed both generally and specifically from the perspectives of different stakeholders. A stakeholder consultation was conducted to solicit the views of different stakeholders regarding what information is required. This indicated some common needs regarding, for example, causes and symptomology of food allergy. In addition, some specific information needs for different stakeholders were also identified. The industrial sector requires more information about clear guidelines for labelling practices, whereas the allergic consumers and health professionals require more information about symptomology, treatment and prevention. Regulators specifically need information from risk assessors regarding issues key to the implementation of an effective regulatory framework. This may need to be at a more detailed level of technicality than that required by other stakeholders (for example, consumers). The results therefore suggest that targeted information strategies may be the most resource-efficient way to communicate effectively to different stakeholders about food allergy. However, those information channels which are best suited to specific stakeholder needs remain to be established and exploited.