The new EU food labelling laws are here. That means that from the 13th December 2014, it’s vital that food businesses acknowledge customers with allergies and intolerances.
There are 14 allergens, and traces of any must be labelled clearly. Restaurants and cafes, street vendors, and catering companies all have to comply, and if they don’t, it’s a £5,000 on-the-spot fine.
Are you a food business? We’re developing FoodTrade Menu, an innovative automatic allergen labelling tool. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out more…
1. // GLUTEN
Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a condition that causes a person to react after ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and some other grains. The most dangerous reaction is coeliac disease – a disorder resulting from an immune reaction to gluten.
Also watch out for gluten in flour, spelt, pasta, cereals, cookies, cakes, cross-contaminated oats, couscous, and many baked goods.
2. // CRUSTACEANS
Symptoms of crustacean or shellfish allergy range from mild local reactions in the oral cavity (oral allergy syndrome) to severe life threatening systemic reactions.
Also watch out for shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crab.
Egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children. An egg allergy develops when the body’s immune system becomes sensitised and overreacts to proteins in egg whites or yolks.
Also watch out for egg in cake, baked goods, cocktails, custard, mayonnaise, and meringues.
For people with celery allergy, consuming can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. It’s quite difficult to avoid celery, as it’s used as a flavouring in many restaurant dishes, particularly soups and oriental cuisine.
Also watch out for celeriac, stocks, sauces, spices and dried celery
Allergy to cow’s milk is another common food allergy in infants and young children. Symptoms of a milk allergy reaction can range from mild, such as hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis.
Watch out for milk in cheese, yoghurt, butter, pudding, pancakes, coffee, and baked goods.
Salmon, tuna and halibut are the most common kinds of finned fish to which people are allergic. Finned fish and shellfish do not come from related families of foods, so being allergic to one does not necessarily mean that allergy sufferers must avoid both.
Also watch out for anchovies, haddock, Caesar dressings, stocks and asian-style meals.
Tree nuts include walnut, almond, hazelnut, cashew, pistachio, Brazil nuts and many more. Don’t confused them with peanuts, which are a legume, or seeds, such as sunflower or sesame.
Watch out for nuts in nut butters/oils, cakes, muesli and vegetarian burgers.
Sulphites help preserve many foods and drinks and prevent them from ‘going off’. Sulphites are also found in many wines, as they stop the fermentation process which would otherwise make the wine turn sour.
Watch out for sulphites in wine, soup mixes, beer, cider, condiments, fruit juices and pickles.
Soya is widely used in processed foods and can be difficult to avoid. As many as 60% of manufactured foods contain soya. Soya can be ingested as whole beans, soya flour, soya sauce or soya oil.
Watch out for soya in sauces, baby food, desserts, bread and many, many more.
10. // SESAME
The most common type of seed allergy is sesame, although some other seeds, such as poppy seeds and sunflower seeds can cause a reaction in sufferers.
Watch out for sesame in hummus, tahini and halvah
Peanut allergies are common, and often fatal. The sensitivity can be so strong, that even if peanuts are in the same room they might cause a reaction for those with a peanut allergy. Peanuts are a legume, and not to be confused with tree nuts.
Watch out for peanuts in peanut butter, nougat, marzipan, egg rolls, and baked goods.
Mustard allergies are quite rare in the UK, and most prevalent in Europe, yet they’re it’s just as important to label mustard on foods, as reactions can be severe.
Watch out for mustard in spices, ready meals, sandwiches and pickles.
The lupin is a popular garden flower with tall, colourful spikes. The seeds are edible, either eaten whole or crushed to make lupin flour.
Watch out for lupin in pastries, pies, pancakes and pasta.
Molluscs are a similar category to shellfish, but the new EU law states they must be labelled separately.
Watch out for abalone, clams, mussels, octopus, oysters, squid, scallops and snails.
Are you a food business?
Compliancy is dull, but we won’t let allergens get the better of you. In fact, we know there’s more regulations coming just around the corner – nutritional information and food origin – but that’s not for you to worry about – FoodTrade Menu will always keep your compliant menu fresh.
If you want to find out more about the new allergen labelling legislation or our new compliance tool, simply visit www.foodtrade.menu, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to chat.