Allergen management and labelling for pre-packed foods (May contain labelling)

Last updated:
10 March 2012
Best practice guidance on managing food allergens with particular reference to avoiding cross-contamination and using appropriate advisory labelling (eg 'May contain' labelling).

About this information:

Applies in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

This information is for:

  • food producers
  • retailers

Legal status:

Best practice guidance. This guidance is voluntary.

The current list of regulatory allergens are:

1. Cereals containing gluten (eg wheat (such as spelt and khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats, or their hybridised strains), except:
(a) wheat-based glucose syrups including dextrose
(b) wheat-based maltodextrins
(c) glucose syrups based on barley
(d) cereals used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages.

2. Crustaceans.

3. Eggs.*

4. Fish, except:
(a) fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations
(b) fish gelatine or isinglass used as a fining agent in beer and wine.

5. Peanuts.

6. Soybeans, except:
(a) fully refined soybean oil and fat
(b) natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources
(c) vegetable oils derived from phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources
(d) plant stanol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soybean sources.

7. Milk* (including lactose), except:
(a) whey used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages
(b) lactitol.

8. Nuts, i.e. almonds (Amygdalus communis L.), hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), walnuts (Juglans regia), cashews (Anacardium occidentale), pecan nuts (Carya illinoiesis (Wangenh.) K. Koch), Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), pistachio nuts (Pistacia vera), macadamia nuts and Queensland nuts (Macadamia ternifolia), except:
nuts used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages.

9. Celery.

10. Mustard.

11. Sesame seeds.

12. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre expressed as SO2.

13. Lupin.

14. Molluscs.

* The temporary exemption from labelling egg-derived lysozyme and for albumin (produced from egg) or milk (casein) products when used as fining agents in wine, in respect of wines that are marked, labelled or sold before 30 June 2012 has now expired. Commission Implementing Regulation 579/2012 lays out the labelling rules for grapes used from harvests later than 30 June 2012 to make wines. When considering the boundaries of the previous exemption (Regulation 1266/2010) and the new regulation, wines from harvests from 30 June 2012 onwards and non-EU wines from pre-2012 harvests which have not placed on the EU market prior to 30 June 2012, must demonstrate an absence of egg or milk at <0.25mg/l to be exempt from allergen labelling.