Food allergen labelling:
what you need to know
Since 13 December 2014, it has been a requirement in the food and drink sector to indicate allergens on menus!
More and more customers and diners are affected by food allergies these days. The EU has responded to this by requiring that allergens are declared – and they must also be identified in the food and drink sector according to the latest EU regulation.
What are allergens and additives?
Allergens are substances in foods that can trigger hypersensitivity of the immune system. They may enter the body through inhalation, touch or the consumption of food. They present no risk for 95% of the population. Additives are intentionally added to food items during the manufacturing process for technological or product-specific reasons. Additives may trigger an allergy-like reaction, but they are not classified as allergens with the exception of sulphur dioxide and sulphites.
The 14 main allergens at a glance
The following allergens must be indicated on labels and menus in the food and drink sector according to the EU regulation. All cooks, chefs, waiters and other service staff should be familiar with them:
- Cereals containing gluten*
- Milk* (including lactose)
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (in concentrations above 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/l)
These 14 allergens and *all substances obtained from them cause 90% of all allergic reactions.
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