FSA Publishes UK Allergen Labeling Guidance

August 4, 2014

Beginning in December, EU manufacturers must call out allergens such as celery on ingredient lists.

Effective this December, manufacturers in the European Union must adhere to new allergen labeling rules under the recently passed European Union Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC). To help manufacturers make the transition, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) just published allergen labeling guidance to outline best practices.

Under EU FIC, 14 food ingredients will be considered potential allergens: cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, mollusks, eggs, fish, peanuts, nuts, soya, milk, celery, mustard, sesame, lupin, and sulphur dioxide (when used as a preservative above 10 mg/kg or 10 ml/l). If any of these are used in a food product, or in the process of making a food product, they must be included on the product’s ingredient list. They must also be distinguished from the rest of the list of ingredients, according to the new law.

While the language of EU FIC suggests a different font, style, or even background color for calling out an allergen on an ingredient list, the FSA suggests that manufacturers list any allergen either in bold, a contrasting color, or with an underline. Manufacturers should also consider a voluntary allergy advice statement elsewhere on product packaging, such as “Allergy Advice: for allergens, see ingredients in bold.” In outstanding cases where products do not bear ingredient lists, a “Contains: [allergen]” statement is appropriate. “May contain” statements regarding cross-contamination are still voluntary.

Manufacturers are encouraged to inform all staff members of these labeling changes. The Violators of EU FIC after December 13, 2014 may be subject to fines.

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/AndreaAstes

 

Robby Gardner

Associate Editor

Nutritional Outlook magazine

robby.gardner@ubm.com

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