The Federation of EU Manufacturers and Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionery, and Patisserie Industries (Fedima) has recommended firms avoid ‘free-from’ claims, except for products especially produced and marketed for specific groups of allergic people. It was underlining a position paper it published earlier this year.
That said, it stressed that the claim ‘gluten-free’ was an exception, as it was officially covered under EU Regulation 1169/2011. According to that rule, products containing fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten, which are produced under a specific regime, could be labelled as ‘gluten-free’.
Precautionary allergen labelling
In addition, the European Commission (EC) needed to harmonise the approach for precautionary allergen labelling, especially as the question of chance cross-contamination of food with an allergen was not addressed by the current EU Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation.
Fedima said its members would commit to provide information on the potential presence of allergens due to cross-contamination. This information should be based on risk evaluation, it stressed.
On 13 July 2017, the EC published a Commission Notice relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances, offering guidance on the labelling of allergens in the context of the FIC Regulation.
Fedima said it was following the recommendations of the Notice. As a result, it said it welcomed the regular review of the scientific basis for allergen labelling, possibly leading to exemptions from allergen labelling requirements for derivatives not able to trigger adverse reactions.
Article 9.1(c) of Regulation 1169/2011 requires all allergens listed in Annex II of the Regulation to be labelled, including the allergens in processing aids. In the absence of an on-pack ingredients list, Article 21 foresees the mention ‘contains’, followed by the name of the substance as listed in Annex II.