Everything You Should Know About Allergen Labelling

This is a stressful time for food companies everywhere. On top of the current pandemic, there is just over a year left until Natasha’s Law is enforced on 1 October 2021. Which is why it’s imperative to start undertaking the changes that your company has to make so it can comply with the law and, more importantly, ensure customer safety.

Our friends at Nutritics have provided some expert advice on your legal responsibilities. Nutritics is a nutrition and allergen management software company. In an article published recently on their website, the team at Nutritics outlined the legal requirements for food businesses. In this post, they specifically discussed The Food Information for Consumers (FIC) Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 which came into force on December 13th 2014. This legislation makes it a legal requirement to identify in written format 14 specified food allergens when they are used in the production or preparation of both packaged and non-packaged foods.

This article provides a brilliant introduction into allergen labelling for food businesses. We suggest checking out this article in full (link here). Below is a brief overview. 

What Does my Business Need to Do?

By law, there are 14 allergens that must be declared on PPDS foods. You can find a list of these on the Nutritics blog post but it includes milk, cereal, eggs, fish and peanuts.  If you sell food, you are required to adapt your processes so that you can identify and trace these 14 food allergens from the point of entry to your business to the point of supply. 

For business, complying with allergen laws and regulations might require a lot of changes in how you present, label and sell food to your customers. This is where Nutritics can help; if you input the recipe into their software, you can easily find out which allergens are present in the food and make the transition much easier for your company.

There are also some exceptions to the allergen labelling you use. For example, the allergens listed for your dishes should only refer to the ingredients purposely used to make the dish. Any cross-contamination doesn’t require an allergen declaration. That being said, it is still good practice to make any possible contaminants known to your customers. Other exceptions include when the allergen is clearly added in the product’s name, like peanut butter, or if the allergen has been removed by processing, like fully refined soybean oil.

How Should the Information be Presented?

For all foods and drinks, sold loose or prepackaged, the allergens must be declared in written format at the point of presentation, point of sale or point of supply. Most importantly, the labelling must be legible and easily understood by customers. It can be in the form of numbers, plain text, symbols or anything else that’s easily comprehensible. 

Any allergen information should also be accessible to the customer without having to ask a staff member. Allergens need to be specific to your recipe. General statements such as “this product may contain a specific allergen” cannot be used. Customers shouldn’t have to rely on asking staff for information, as this can cause misconceptions and any allergens need to be as clear as possible.

The article provided by Nutritics provides some great insight into how to present the allergen information as well as 4 key points on what NOT to do when it comes to allergen labelling. To check out the article in full, please click on the link below:

Check out Nutritics on Allergen Labelling – Everything Businesses Need to Know