Intentionally added ingredients may contain allergens. The plan is to ensure that these are included on label. A precautionary response is anticipated, devaluing the meaning of the label. It is not easy to see how an overcautious label would create new liabilities. Product liability is strict. Contract liability issues can be anticipated where composition information from suppliers and quality assurance services proves to be inaccurate.
Directive 2000/13/EC OJ L 109, 6.5.2000
On the 6th September 2001 the Commission issued a proposal for an amendment to the food labelling Directive (Directive 2000/13/EC OJ L 109, 6.5.2000).
The proposal will abolish the “25% rule” which currently means that it is not obligatory to label the components of compound ingredients that make up less than 25% of the final food product. The new proposal means that all ingredients intentionally added will have to be included on the label.
The proposal will also establish a list of ingredients liable to cause allergies or intolerances and will include alcoholic beverages if they contain an ingredient on the allergen list.
The proportion of the population with food allergies or food intolerances is increasing (according to the allergy associations 8 % of children and 3 % of adults are affected) and new allergens are becoming known.
The new requirements have been drafted with certain de minimis provisions to avoid absurdities or over-regulation. To prevent the risk of labelling becoming too complex, and to take account of the technical constraints associated with the manufacture of foodstuffs, the proposal authorises some limited derogations, (not applicable to allergens), and a flexibility with regard to the listing of ingredients used in very small quantity. The additional labelling requirements will enter into force after a transitional period to allow companies to bring product labelling into line with the new provisions. The proposal will be forwarded to the Parliament and the Council under the co-decision procedure.
List of potential allergenic ingredients to be labeled: