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.

 

Regulatory provisions

  • 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
  • Wheat-based glucose syrups, including dextrose
  • Wheat-based maltodextrins
  • Barley-based glucose syrups
  • Cereals used for making distillates or agricultural ethyl alcohol for spirits and other alcoholic beverages
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
  • Fully refined soybean oil and fat
  • Natural mixed tocopherols
  • Phytosterols and phytosterol esters derived from soybean vegetable oil
  • Plant stanol esters derived from soybean oils
Milk and products thereof (including lactose)
  • Whey used for making alcoholic distillates including agricultural ethyl alcohol
  • Lactitol
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

Source : Le Portail de l’Economie et des Finances (Economy and Finance web Portal)

 

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)
•    LC-MS/MS
•    PCR