Over the last seven days you will have been made aware of bean paste products that have been imported into Australia containing peanuts. The FBIA feels it is very important for all members, and all food importers, to be fully aware of the ingredients or the components of an ingredient to ensure their products are labelled accurately to protect the consumer and prevent allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. Allergen labelling does save lives.
Most food allergies are caused by peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. The Food Standards Code requires these foods to be declared on labels whenever they are present as ingredients or as components of food additives or processing aids. Lupin was added to the list of allergens on 25/5/17 – so companies have 12 months to meet the mandatory declaration requirements.
Things to remember:
- If the food is not in a package or is not required to have a label – the information must either be displayed in connection with the food or provided to the purchaser if requested.
- Royal jelly has been reported to cause severe allergic reactions and, in rare cases, fatalities, especially in asthma and allergy sufferers. Food containing the bee product royal jelly is required to have a warning statement. The same warning statement is required when royal jelly is sold as a complementary medicine.
- Gluten-containing cereals need to be declared on the label so people with Coeliac Disease and cereal allergies can identify these products. Gluten-containing cereals include wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt and hybrid strains of these cereals (e.g. triticale).
- The Food Standards Code also includes requirements for making ‘gluten free’ and ‘low gluten’ claims about food. For more information about these claim requirements, see Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, Health and Related Claims.
- Sulphites must also be declared on the label if added at 10 (or more) milligrams per kilogram of food.
- Complaints about suspected undeclared allergens in foods should be directed to your local food enforcement agency.
For information on product exemptions from allergen labelling please go to http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/foodallergies/Pages/Allergen-labelling-exemptions-.aspx
Allergen labelling of aged bottled wine please go to http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/pages/allergen-labelling-.aspx
‘May contain’ statements – Some food labels use ‘may contain’ or ‘may be present’ statements about certain allergens, such as ‘may contain nuts’. These are voluntary statements made by food manufacturers and are not regulated by the Food Standards Code.
Importers can access information from several sources to be fully informed of their obligations; access guidance; and awareness of an allergy and anaphylaxis.
Food Standards Australia http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
Australian Food and Grocery Council https://www.afgc.org.au/
Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia https://allergyfacts.org.au/
Allergen Bureau http://allergenbureau.net/
Allergy New Zealand http://www.allergy.org.nz/
Allergen labelling poster for food businesses http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/pages/allergen-labelling-.aspx