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Food Allergies: Why we should cry over spilt milk

Holly Grace Edgar

Scots Law & French


Year of study:

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If a food is not what it says on the tin, what can we do about it?

An allergy is a potentially life-threatening immune response to an otherwise harmless substance, such as peanuts or eggs. There are currently over 2 million people in the UK living with a diagnosed food allergy and this number is only expected to rise. Considering the scale of this problem, does the law do enough to protect food allergy sufferers?

I will examine the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and show how by changing how we classify food causing allergic reactions we can make the law more accessible. By moving from fault-based to product-focused liability, we remove a major barrier to accessing justice that has had a significant impact on food allergy sufferers. The Act deals with defective products, meaning products which are not “what consumers are generally entitled to expect”. As a product, a food must contain what it says it contains, and nothing else.  I will also shed light on chronic evidence issues caused by a lack of data and navigate the murky waters surrounding precautionary allergen labelling to emphasise that unregulated “may contain” warnings may cause more problems than they solve.

My research exposes clear deficiencies of UK laws in protecting this vulnerable group and highlight a growing need for us all to cry over spilt milk.


Speaker bio to follow

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