By Allergen Bureau

Codex to improve allergen labelling provisions

At the most recent meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, it was accepted that the current allergen labelling provisions in the ‘General Standard for Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods’ lack sufficient clarity and detail for industry in how allergens should be presented on food labels to ensure consumer protection. New work will be conducted to address these shortcomings.

The new work proposes to review and clarify the provisions relevant to allergen labelling in the Standard, and to develop guidance on precautionary allergen or advisory labelling. The aim is to provide clear and consistent allergen information for consumers, and increase international harmonization to facilitate trade.

Full details of the aspects that will be covered by the new work are listed in Annex VII (Pages 15-17) of the proposal, discussed at the 42nd Session of Codex Alimentarius Commission. It will include a review of whether the published criteria for assessing additions and exclusions to the list of allergenic foods is still current and appropriate, or whether there are foods and ingredients that should be added to or deleted from the list. Also subject to expert scientific advice is whether certain highly refined foods and ingredients that are derived from the list of foods known to cause hypersensitivity can be exempted from mandatory declaration.