Food Allergen Labelling: December 2016 Deadline
Food Allergen Labelling is an important consideration for Food Business Operators (FBO’s). To give one an idea of how prevalent food allergies are, we reviewed a study by EuroPrevall, an EU-funded project about food allergies. The study determined food allergies may be caused by more than 120 foods, but the majority of reactions are caused by milk, egg, peanut, fish, and shellfish.
This will likely cause you to redesign and reprint your labels.
Contact Afinia Label to discuss our in-house label printing and finishing solutions.
How Many People Have Food Allergies in the UK?
Based on several studies in which some participants had clinically-proven food allergies, EuroPrevall determined that approximately 1 to 5 % of the total population has a food allergy.
Based on these statistics, if the population of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland is 38,800,000 people, between 388,000 and 1,940,000 consumers have clinically-proven food allergies. When it comes to these allergies, some reactions are relatively benign and some can be fatal. Also, reactions can be triggered by very small amounts—even traces—of the ingredient, which is why food allergen labelling has become very important. The Foods Standards Agency notes that about 10 people die from food-related allergic reactions each year in the UK. Mandated food allergen labelling may decrease this number.
When Did The New Food Allergen Labelling Rules Come Into Effect?
The allergen rules came into effect in the UK and the EU on 13 December 2014. They apply to FBO’s such as “producers, manufacturers, packers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, caterers.” However, these rules do not apply to non-food businesses that only occasionally provide food: for example, a company providing food at a bake sale, business gathering, or charity event.
Labelling For The 14 Major Allergens
Under Article 9 (1)(c) of EU FIC, all FBOs should declare the presence—whether for use as an ingredient or a processing aid—of any of the 14 major allergens listed in Annex II to the Regulation.
The 14 major allergens are:
- Cereals containing gluten
- Sulphur dioxide and/or sulphites at levels above 10mg/kg or 10 mg/litre
The Effect On Your Food Labels
For many FBO’s, this guidance may require a wholesale change to all of their labels, making a good case for in-house label printing. If you would like to speak with one of our Afinia Label UK staff, please email or ring us at +44 (0) 845 250 7949.
Examples of old and new labels. Note the “bolding” of allergan ingredients.
For specific examples of proper Food Allergen Labelling, please consult the Food allergen labelling document referenced below.
All quotes are from “The percentage of people with food allergy in the community” and “Food allergen labelling and information requirements under the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011: Technical Guidance”