EU – Breaking news on allergens labelling

Last week we had great movement around this topic.

DG Sanco opened a public consultation on Guidelines relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.

The consultation aim is to gather opinions from consumers and stakeholders about the draft document. The consultation will be closed on 4th January 2015.

For the pre-packed foods the rules are quite clear and the main topic is around gluten: the Commission suggest to emphasize not the word “gluten” but the name of the cereal (i.e. wheat, barley, …).

For non pre-packed food, the following Q&A give an idea of what is the line of the Commission and the space given to Member States legislation (see 44.2 FIC Reg.).

Can Member States allow, through national measures, the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances used in the manufacture or preparation of a non-prepacked food, only and simply upon request by the consumer?

The provision of allergen information “upon request” is not to be considered as a “means of providing information’. However, in a spirit of a pragmatic approach, indicatively, national measures may stipulate that detailed allergen/intolerance information regarding the manufacture or preparation of a non-prepacked food may be given upon request by the consumer, provided that the food business operator indicates in a conspicuous place and in such a way as to be easily visible, 11 clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible, that such information can be obtained upon request. This combination would already indicate to the consumer that the non-prepacked food
concerned raises issues relating to allergen/intolerances and that such information is available and easily accessible.

The guidelines should be read in conjunction with the legislation itself. The examples it contains are given for illustration only. The guidelines and examples given in the document cannot be regarded as official interpretation of
the legislation, this being the exclusive reserve of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Moreover it is not a final document, but is better than nothing for our food business operators  in light of the fact that in a week from now the FIC Regulation will enter in application.

Few days before the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of allergenic foods and food ingredients for labelling purposes.

The Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel) updated its previous opinions relative to food ingredients or substances with known allergenic potential listed in Annex IIIa of 2003/89/EC, as amended. These include cereals containing gluten, milk and dairy products, eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, celery, lupin, sesame, mustard and sulphites. The opinion relates to immunoglobulin (Ig)E- and non-IgE-mediated food allergy, to coeliac disease and to adverse reactions to sulphites in food, and it does not address non-immune-mediated adverse reactions to food. It includes information on the prevalence of food allergy in unselected populations, proteins identified as food allergens, cross-reactivities, the effects of food processing on the allergenicity of foods and ingredients, methods for the detection of allergens and allergenic foods, doses observed to trigger adverse reactions in sensitive individuals and risk assessment methodologies that have been used to derive individual and population thresholds for selected allergenic foods.

The huge opinion (286 pages) has many interesting point, but cannot cut clear two of the main issues linked to the possibility to establish thresholds for labelling purposes: which doses trigger adverse reactions (too many variables) and which methods use to detect allergens.

 

Australia – FSANZ recalls – Undeclared allergens and Salmonella in cheese

IKEA Pty Ltd has recalled PASTAÄLGAR and PASTAÄLGAR FULLKORN (Elk-shaped pasta products, in white and wholemeal) from IKEA stores in NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (soy). Consumers who have a soy allergy or intolerance should not consume these products and may have a reaction if they are consumed. They can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Date notified to FSANZ: 1/10/2014

Food type: Pasta. Elk-shaped pasta products, in white and wholemeal

Product name:

  • PASTAÄLGAR
  • PASTAÄLGAR FULLKORN (wholemeal)

Package description and size: Plastic packaging, 500g

Date marking: all best before dates

Country of origin: Germany

Reason for recall: the presence of an undeclared allergen (soy)

Distribution: IKEA stores in NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA

Consumer advice: consumers who have a soy allergy or intolerance should not consume these products and may have a reaction if they are consumed. They can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Contact

IKEA Pty Ltd

NSW: (02) 8020 6641, VIC: (03) 8523 2154, QLD: (07) 3380 6800, WA: (08) 9201 4532, SA: (08) 8154 4532.

www.ikea.com.au

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Fresh Fodder Pty Ltd has recalled their Blue Cheese & Pistachio dip from independent outlets such as IGA supermarkets, fruit shops and delicatessens in the ACT, NSW and VIC. The recall is due to Salmonella contamination. Food products contaminated with Salmonella may cause illness if consumed. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Date notified to FSANZ: 30/09/2014

Food type: Chilled dip, dairy based.

Product name: Blue Cheese & Pistachio dip

Package description and size: Round container, 200g

Date marking: Best Before 11.11.14

Country of origin: Australia

Reason for recall: Salmonella contamination

Distribution: Independent outlets such as IGA supermarkets, fruit shops and delicatessens in  the ACT, NSW and VIC

Consumer advice: food products contaminated with Salmonella may cause illness if consumed. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Contact

Fresh Fodder Pty Ltd

0263625815

www.freshfodder.com.au

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Woolworths Ltd has recalled a variety of Macro Natural and Macro Organic nut spreads (Almond Spread, Cashew Spread and Peanut Butter) from Woolworths and Thomas Dux stores nationally due to the presence of undeclared allergens. Peanut allergens are present in the Almond Spread and Cashew Spread; tree nut allergens are present in the Peanut Butter products. Consumers who have a peanut or tree nut allergy or intolerance should not consume these products and may have a reaction if these products are consumed. The products can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Date notified to FSANZ: 30/09/2014

Food type: Nut spreads

Product name:

• Macro Natural Almond Spread 250g

• Macro Natural Cashew Spread 250g

• Macro Organic Peanut Butter Crunchy 375g

• Macro Organic Peanut Butter Smooth 375g

• Macro Organic Peanut Butter Crunchy 800g

• Macro Organic Peanut Butter Smooth 800g

Package description and size;

• A clear glass jar with a metal cap (250g and 375g products)

• Plastic tub with lid (800g products)

Date marking: All best before dates currently in the marketplace

Country of origin: Australia

Reason for recall: The presence of undeclared allergens. Peanut allergens are present in the Almond Spread and Cashew Spread; tree nut allergens are present in the Peanut Butter products.

Distribution: Woolworths Supermarkets and Thomas Dux stores nationally

Consumer advice: consumers who have a peanut or tree nut allergy or intolerance should not consume these products and may have a reaction if these products are consumed. The products can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Contact

Woolworths Ltd

1800 103 515

(Source: FSANZ Website)