Both allergic and nonallergic consumers find allergen information difficult to interpret and often misunderstand precautionary allergen labels (PALs), according to a study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy. Researchers ex- amined consumers’ interpretation of allergy in- formation on foods in two experiments using 18 packaged foods. Foods with no stated allergen versus allergen as a stated ingredient were com- pared with a PAL, and three common variants of PALs were compared. The risk for reaction was assessed as high for foods with the allergen stated as an ingredient and low for foods without men- tion of an allergen. Furthermore, risk assess- ments for PAL varied, with nonallergic partic- ipants judging risk higher than allergic partici- pants (82% vs 58%). There was also variation in the understanding of risk associated with PAL by health literacy. All forms of allergy information were judged to be unclear by both allergic and nonallergic consumers, especially products with no allergy information for nonallergic consum- ers. The perception was that products with a “Produced in a factory” PAL were less risky than “May contain” or “Traces of” PAL. PAL infor- mation was judged to be comprehensible by less than 40% of participants. “May contain” was pre- ferred over the other PALs. “This study highlights that it is not just certain groups of consumers that need to be trained in using allergy information in a proper way, but it is the allergy information that should be improved,” the authors wrote.