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The 14 Food Ingredients that must now be Declared as Allergens on Food Labelling

The Food Information Regulations are changing and new rules come into force on 13 December 2014.

This requires food businesses providing non-prepacked food e.g. restaurants, delis, canteens, takeaways, cafes, retail outlets etc., to indicate to consumers the use of any of the 14 allergenic ingredients listed below that are used in the production or preparation of food.

The new EU food labeling rules, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2011 (Food Information for Consumers Regulation), are claimed to ensure that consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive and accurate information on food content and help them make informed choices about what they eat.

The basic principles of food labelling remain the same in providing safe food which is honestly described and presented continue and the following information is still required on prepacked food labelling: 
  • A true name or description of the food 
  • The ingredients it contains, in descending weight order
  • How it should be handled, stored, cooked or prepared 
  • Who manufactured, packed or imported it 
  • Origin information if its absence would mislead 
  • Allergenic ingredients identified on the label 
  • Specific information declaring whether the food is irradiated or contains genetically modified material or aspartame, high caffeine, sweeteners, packaging gases, phytosterols etc. 
  • Net quantity in grams, kilograms, litres or centilitres (or abbreviations thereof)
  • Alcoholic strength where there is more than 1.2% alcohol by volume (alcohol x%vol.) 

The new regulations replace the current food labelling requirements and introduce new ones including:
  • Minimum font size on labels
  • Mandatory nutrition labelling
  • A clearer indication of allergens in the ingredients list and the need to be able to tell consumers about allergen contents in non-packaged food
  • Extension to the rules for country of origin labelling.

The 14 Food Ingredients that now must be Declared as Allergens in the EU are:

1. Cereals containing Gluten namely: wheat (such as spelt and khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats or their hybridised strains, and products thereof, except:

(a) wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
(b) wheat based maltodextrins
(c) glucose syrups based on barley
(d) cereals used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin

Paper wrapped Labels are ideal for freshly baked breads

2. Crustaceans and products thereof

3. Eggs and products thereof

4. Fish and products thereof, except:

(a) fish gelatine used as carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations
(b) fish gelatine or Isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine

5. Peanuts and products thereof

6. Soybeans and products thereof, except:

(a) fully refined soybean oil and fat
(b) natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, and natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources
(c) vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources
(d) plant stanol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soybean sources

7. Milk and products thereof (including lactose), except:

(a) whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
(b) lactitol

8. Nuts namely: Almonds (Amygdalus communis L.), Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), Walnuts (Juglans regia), Cashews (Anacardium occidentale), Pecan Nuts (Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch), Brazil Nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), Pistachio Nuts (Pistacia vera), Macadamia or Queensland Nuts (Macadamia ternifolia), and products thereof, except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.

9. Celery and products thereof

10. Mustard and products thereof

11. Sesame Seeds and products thereof

12. Sulphur dioxide and Sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre in terms of the total SO2 which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers

13. Lupin and products thereof (lupin flour is used quite widely in bread, cakes and pastries)

14. Molluscs and products thereof

These 14 specified allergenic ingredients must be declared in foods. 
Other ingredients to which some people may have an allergy or intolerance do not need to be declared, although the information should be provided voluntarily.

Owners/Managers of Food premises need to make all staff aware of the 14 allergenic ingredients and put a system in place to identify and record the allergenic ingredients being received and handled by the food business to enable you to meet the food allergen declaration requirements.

For further information on Allergens in food production and much more, go to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland website at and Follow them on Twitter @FSAIinfo


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