Spotlight on allergens in EU label regulations
The EU Food Labeling Regulation 1169/2011 will be enforced from December 2014 and food producers will have to highlight allergens within the ingredient list.
Marko Vrbnjak, product marketing manager, NiceLabel, told FoodProductionDaily.com its EU food allergen technology can be used with a database to automatically mark the allergens across all the products a manufacturer makes.
“We received many requests from manufacturers that struggled to comply with EU food regulation and decided to create template label designs and applications,” he said.
All products are connected to a ‘smart label’ template, which stores information in a central database.
“Let’s say water became an allergen,” Vrbnjak said. “You would update that once it is in your allergen list. From that time on, every label you print, the allergen will be highlighted.”
The EU regulations will require 14 allergens, such as nuts, milk and celery, to be emphasized on ingredient lists by using a different font, style or background colour. This is challenging for companies that make different food items in smaller quantities, and print labels on demand, he added.
Bakeries, delicatessens and caterers may change ingredients in their product, but need to know any added allergens will be highlighted to meet regulations. The software highlights the allergens in ingredient lists in different languages.
“You can add new products and not worry about what is an allergen and what is not,” Vrbnjak said.
The system can be used without modifying existing databases or purchasing printers, he claims. “Smart labels work with all printers so the manufacturers don't need to buy new hardware to be compliant. And even if they change printers in the future, they don't need make changes to the label template.”
The EU Regulation makes changes to current legislation on food labeling including mandatory nutrition information on processed foods; mandatory origin labeling of unprocessed meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry; a minimum text size; and highlighting allergens in the list of ingredients.
The rules will apply from December 13 2014, and the law to provide nutrition information will apply from December 13 2016.
NiceLabel is based in Slovenia. It develops software for label design, manual printing, automated labelling and cloud hosted web printing.