New Concept For The Labelling Of Allergen Traces In Food
Occasionally, the unintentional input of traces of known allergens may occur during food production. When, for instance, milk chocolate is produced immediately after nut chocolate, nut particles may migrate to the milk chocolate. This migration is not intended by manufacturers but can only be avoided through considerable effort. As each manufacturer is liable for the safety of its products, the possible input of allergens in food is sometimes indicated on the label as a precautionary measure.
... r instance, it says on the chocolate packaging, "May contain traces of nuts". There is no uniform statutory labelling provision for this. Each manufacturer decides on the exact wording of this consumer information on his products. For allergy sufferers, however, this is not a satisfactory solution. More and more products are labelled in this way and the choice of foods for consumers with food allergies is constantly dwindling. In Australia a method has been developed which aims to offer consumers greater certainty coupled with fewer constraints. Limit values have been established on a scientific basis for frequent allergens and these have been linked to various action options. Against this backdrop the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) assessed whether this form of labelling of allergy traces could also be used in Germany. BfR recommends the uniform, improved labelling of allergens with a view to providing food allergy sufferers with better information and offering them improved protection. BfR, therefore, welcomes the discussion that has been launched about the uniform labelling of allergen traces in food. In order to carry over this or a similar method to the German labelling system, the limit values in particular for allergen traces in food must, in the opinion of BfR, be based on scientifically derived threshold values which are properly substantiated and generally recognised scientifically.