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The basics of food labelling: Allergen Statement

Posted by Laura Heisch on 16/06/2016


In the food production, there are many legal regulations ruling the identification of ingredients. Every used ingredients, especially the ones causing allergies or intolerances (allergens), must be documented in an allergene statement.

Allergen labelling and Food Information for Consumers Regulation (FIR):

The EU regulation 1169/2011, enacted December 13th, 2014, is the latest and most important document referring to the duty of declaration for the production, processing and the sale of loose or packaged food items (Food Information Regulation (FIR)).

The regulation requires the documentation of the 14 most important allergenic ingredients and additives throughout the entire production chain and a clear signaling on the packaging for the customers.

A list of every potential allergens (Allergen statement) must appear as evidence in the product documentation, in order to be displayed on the final product for the consumer.  In most cases, an allergen list will already be part of the product specifiaction and can be used without sending an extra allergen statement to your business partner.

The 14 most important allergens in food are:

  1. Cereals containing gluten
  2.  Crustaceans and derivatives
  3. Eggs and derivatives
  4. Fish and derivatives
  5. Peanuts and derivatives
  6. Soybeans and derivatives
  7. Milk and derivatives (including lactose)
  8. Nuts, namely: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia or Queensland nuts, and derivatives
  9. Celery and derivatives
  10. Mustard and derivatives
  11. Sesame seeds and derivatives
  12. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre in terms of the total SO2
  13. Lupin and derivatives
  14. Molluscs and derivatives

The allergen statement shall include:

  • name and addess of the producer
  • product designation
  • applied standards and regulations
  • allergen list with declaration of the 14 allergens and their cross reactions
  • identification to the signee

Further information:

  • Internationally, the declaration of allergens is based on the codex standard Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CODEX STAN 1-1985)”. The codex alimentarius (or Food Code) is a collection of standards for food safety and food product quality established by the FAO and the World Health Organization.
  • Within the EU, other european standards also regulate the allegen labelling such as the 2003/89 /EG 2005/26/EG, the 2006/142 /EG or the 2007/68/EG.
  • The additional “may contain traces of” is not required by the regulations, but is recommended for the consumer safety.
  • More information about the allegen labels in the world and their legal obligations in the food industry
  • More information about the different legal labelling forms for the package of loose food products: Food allergen labelling technical guidance (PDF)


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