Bold, underlined, italics, or coloured? How to highlight allergens for FIC

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Allergens must be highlighted on food labels under the upcoming EU regulations
Allergens must be highlighted on food labels under the upcoming EU regulations

Related tags European union

As the introduction of new EU allergen labelling regulation approaches, food producers want assurance their labels will be compliant, according to RL Solutions. 

The EU food labelling regulation 1169/2011 will be enforced from December 13 this year. As part of this, food producers will have to highlight allergens within the ingredient list.

In response to the upcoming regulations, RL Solutions has launched its Allergen Manager, a piece of software which highlights allergens on labels. The first version was in English but it is now expanding the software to cover additional European languages.

How to highlight?

Lee Shroder, technical director, RL Solutions, told many companies want to know how to ensure they are compliant.  

The biggest headache is compliance. Am I compliant, am I doing this right, have I covered everything, have I missed one? It’s typical government regulations, they’re very loose, no real ‘you must do exactly this.’

For example, with highlighting, they don’t say how you should highlight.”

The Allergen Manager was initially launched in English around a month ago, and the company is now trialling a second version with French, German, Spanish and Italian.

I come from a labelling background, and knew the regulations were coming into play. So I developed the database which puts the formatting around allergens for you, and you can specify the formatting​,” Shroder said.  

Further developments could see the software expand to other languages with the same script, such as Belgium or Dutch.

The 14 allergens as listed in the EU regulations are: cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, eggs, fish, peanuts, nuts, soya, milk, celery, mustard, sesame, lupin and sulphur dioxide (at a level above 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre).

Bold, underlined, colour, italics

Allergen Manager is a ‘middleware application’ – one that fits with most off-the-shelf labelling packages and product specific database information.  The software comes pre-loaded with a list of the current allergens. This list can be edited by the user to add or edit allergens as required.

The Allergen Manager can highlight allergens in any combination of bold, italic, underlined or colour text and is fully compliant with EU regulations, the company says.

The actual wording [of the regulation] is you must ‘highlight’, ​said Shroder. “Most people would do bold and underlined, but if you’ve got colour printing, it’s also acceptable to put them in red, as long as you state that the allergens are highlighted in red​.”

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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