European view

Within the European Union various Member States are beginning to address the issue of labelling of allergens with various degrees of official recommendations. In France, the authorities have published a detailed review of the situation and recommended a number of ways in which industry, collectively, can significantly improve the information given to consumers. A restricted list of allergens is covered but the principal focus is on peanuts and similar derivatives, coupled with clearly defined changes to the legal framework for labelling. In Sweden, labelling legislation requires ingredients known to cause intolerance to be stated in the list of ingredients. Examples quoted include eggs, milk, gluten-containing grains, and legumes such as soyabeans, peas and peanuts. The

Swedish legislation also requires that when such ingredients are themselves present in compound foodstuffs, then any exemptions from ingredient declaration do not apply. In the UK, allergens do not have to be specifically labelled, though most manufacturers voluntarily provide information on the presence of peanuts and nuts where they are present.

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