What are the advantages of the new EU regulation on allergen labelling?

EU directives 2007/68/EG and 2003/89/EG stipulate that the 14 most common allergy and intolerance triggering substances must be listed in the ingredients list on product packaging. A new EU directive has been in force since 2014. Here is an overview of the most important points.

The new requirements

As of 13 December 2014, the 14 most common allergenic ingredients must be clearly highlighted, e.g. by bold or italic script. According to the new directive, foods that are not pre-packed, such as non-packaged bread, sausage products or buffet foods, must also be labelled.

This regulation applies to bakeries, butcheries, restaurants and cafeterias. In Germany, information about the ingredients in non-packaged goods can be communicated in writing, orally or electronically. Written documentation must be easily available upon request, for example, in the form of an information sheet or a special menu.

In sales or food service establishments, a clearly visible notice must be posted, informing customers about how they can receive information on the 14 allergens.

The mandatory provision of information also applies to processing products and additives that are used in production. Exceptions are made for substances that lose their allergenic potential during processing or production. These exceptions are named in the EU regulation.

The 14 most common allergens are:

  1. Cereals containing gluten: wheat (including spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley and oats
  2. Crustaceans
  3. Eggs
  4. Fish
  5. Peanuts
  6. Soya
  7. Milk (including lactose)
  8. Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts and Queensland nuts
  9. Celery
  10. Mustard
  11. Sesame seeds
  12. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (starting from 10 milligrams per kilogram or litre)
  13. Lupin
  14. Molluscs

Further information

You can obtain more details about the implementation and enforcement of the EU regulation at the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

You can find information about the ECARF certification criteria for bakeries, restaurants and staff restaurants here.