An allergen is a substance which triggers an allergy, a series of reactions of the body’s immune system resulting from contact, ingestion or even inhalation of a food allergen.
A consumer with an identified food allergy has to avoid the consumption of any foodstuff containing the substance likely to cause more or less severe health impacts.
The frequency of food allergies and their consequences for consumers’ health led the authorities to adopt new information measures.
Any product containing allergens is subject to the adequate mandatory labelling.
- EU 1169/2011 « INCO » Regulation, relating to consumer information on foodstuffs, more specifically articles 9, 21, 44 and Annex II, about substances or products causing allergies or intolerances, among which labelling rules about allergens.
- Decree No. 2015-447 of 17 April 2015 relating to consumer information on allergens and non-prepacked foodstuffs.
The DGCCRF (French General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs & Fraud Control) updated the hereunder listed food allergens in September 2015.
|List of allergens||Exclusions|
|Cereals containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut or their hybridized strains) and any of these cereal-based products||
|Crustaceans and products thereof||–|
|Eggs and products thereof||–|
|Fish and products thereof||Fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamins or carotenoids preparations or isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine|
|Peanuts and products thereof||–|
|Soybean and products thereof||
|Milk and products thereof (including lactose)||
|Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew, pecan, macadamia, Brazil, Queensland and pistachio nuts) and products thereof||Nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including agricultural ethyl alcohol|
|Celery and products thereof||–|
|Mustard and products thereof||–|
|Sesame seeds and products thereof||–|
|Sulphur dioxide and sulphites with concentrations exceeding 10mg/kg ou 10 mg/l (expressed as SO2)||–|
|Lupin and products thereof||–|
|Molluscs and products thereof|
Regulation EC/41/2009 defined the thresholds for « gluten-free » products (20 mg/kg) and ‘’very low gluten’’ products (100 mg/kg). The advisable thresholds for other allergens are under discussion.
CARSO developed various analytical methods to analyse the whole range of allergens:
• Immunological methods (ELISA)