Allergen Bureau Resources

You can find all the key Allergen Bureau best practice guidance resources, designed to help you approach allergen management and labelling in a consistent manner, right here.

The 2021 Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling for Australia and New Zealand is a partnership document of the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Allergen Bureau.

The Guide describes industry best practice for the management of allergens, allergen labelling, and allergen communication. In this Guide, ‘allergens’ are the foods or substances that are listed in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) table to section S9-3 in
Schedule 9.

Download the guide

Introduction to allergen principles for the food industry

The Allergen Bureau Food Allergen Fundamentals presentation gives a general overview of food allergens and provides references to a variety of resources available to assist the food industry with the complex task of managing allergens.

This presentation has been developed as a free resource for
i) those people new to the subject of food allergens in manufacturing, and
ii) those people in the food industry who feel they might benefit from a ‘going back to the basics’ refresher.

 

The Allergen Risk Review website is a freely available interactive factory map that shows where allergen risks can occur in different areas of a food manufacturing facility. Work your way through the interactive factory map, by clicking on each icon, to learn about the allergen risks and discover ways to address these challenges.

Visit the Allergen Risk Review Website

Unexpected Allergens in Food provides the food industry with a list of foods, ingredients and raw materials that may unexpectedly contain allergens. It also provides food business operators (FBOs) with questions that they can ask their suppliers to support their allergen risk review process. This revised and updated 2021 version of the previous 2011 Unexpected Allergens in Food contains an expanded and updated list of foods, as well as new information about agricultural co-mingling and food fraud. A new inclusion are case studies that show the complexity in the supply chain, where allergens may be unexpectedly incorporated as a result of agricultural co-mingling in food.

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This guidance to the food industry, together with education and associated activities, is designed to improve the nature and consistency of allergen information provided to consumers where a dark chocolate allergen risk review anomaly occurs.  This occurs where dark chocolate is manufactured following production of milk chocolate, i.e. milk remains in the dark chocolate at variable levels, often above the Allergen Bureau VITAL Program Action Levels where precautionary allergen labelling (PAL) would be recommended. The presence of milk is predictable and known and cannot be eliminated or minimised sufficiently, despite good manufacturing practice (GMP) and the commercial practicality of implementing HACCP.

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The Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL) Program has been developed to provide a risk-based methodology for food manufacturers to use in assessing the impact of allergen cross contact and to provide appropriate precautionary allergen labelling (PAL). Application of this approach aims to avoid the indiscriminate use of PAL and thereby preserve its value as a risk management tool. It aims to minimise risk while communicating effectively to allergic consumers.

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The VITAL precautionary allergen labelling statement ‘May be present: allergen x, allergen y.’ for cross contact allergens indicates a defined level of risk based upon scientific principles. The VITAL Scientific Expert Panel (VSEP) is a collaboration between the Allergen Bureau (Australia & New Zealand), the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP) of the University of Nebraska (USA) & the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) to make recommendations for the Reference Doses in the VITAL Program. This document is a summary of the recommendations for an updated set of Reference Doses determined by the VSEP referred to as ‘VITAL 3.0’.

Download the recommendations

VITAL Online is the user-friendly, web-based VITAL Calculator. VITAL Online allows you to store the allergen status of ingredients and processing profiles for use in multiple recipes, record the assumptions in your VITAL risk assessment, and create an Action Level report using the interactive VITAL Action Level Grid. The Allergen Bureau encourages you to try VITAL Online for free. Please register an account using our free 1 month trial offer.

VITAL Online Calculator

The VITAL Best Practice Labelling Guide contains worked examples of the application of the VITAL Program to food products. It was developed by members of the food industry and intended to provide the food industry with guidance for declaring allergens on a label. This guide was developed for products sold in Australia and New Zealand, however, it contains information that may be useful for other jurisdictions.

The VITAL Best Practice Labelling Guide has been temporarily withdrawn by the Allergen Bureau and a Plain English Allergen Labelling (PEAL) updated version will be released soon. In the interim, for our current best practice guidance on VITAL precautionary allergen labelling (PAL), we suggest you refer to the Allergen Bureau 2021 Conference Presentation PEALing the PAL.

The VITAL Standard is a supplementary certification program for food manufacturers that are already certified to GFSI recognised food safety management standards that include allergen management. Manufacturers that achieve VITAL certification may use the VITAL Mark on the products within their scope of certification.

Find out more about VITAL Standard