Restaurants and takeaways across Europe will now required by law to inform customers if the products they are purchasing contains ingredients that may trigger allergies.
Food service organisations, along with all packaged food suppliers, must provide information on the 14 everyday allergens such as gluten, wheat, milk, soya, nuts and celery to customers.
The new measures will inform the general public of a food item's ingredients.
Food allergies now affect more than 17 million people in Europe, according to the European Academy of Allergy.
Under the new EU FIC Food Information for Consumers Regulation, customers must be told if their food contains:
- celery - incl. any found in soup and stock
- cereals containing gluten - incl. barley, spelt, wheat, rye
- crustaceans - such as crabs, lobster, prawns and shrimp paste
- eggs - incl. glazed foods
- lupin - found in some bread, pastries and pasta
- molluscs - mussels, land snails, squid, oyster sauce
- nuts - e.g. hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia
- peanuts - can also be present in groundnut oil
- sesame seeds - found in bread, houmous, tahini
- soya - found in beancurd, edamame beans, tofu
- sulphur dioxide - preservative found in dried fruit, meat products, soft drinks, vegetables, alcoholic drinks
Yumsh Snacks produces the Ten Acre crisps and popcorn range, which are gluten free, dairy free and MSG free. “At Ten Acre, we have noticed an increasing trend for free from foods, particularly those that are gluten free,” Tony Goodman, chief executive of Ten Acre, told ESM, adding that the free from information is clearly printed on the product packaging.
"It is incredibly important that retailers keep looking at innovation in this category and respond to the changing consumer trends," he added. The range is also Halal Food Authority approved, Vegan Society approved, Vegetarian Society approved and Kosher.
Sally Allister, a coeliac, and managing director of Feel Free For Gluten Free Food, told ESM that the products in the Feel Free range use only the finest naturally gluten-free ingredients.
She understands personally what it is like to have a limited choice of things to eat when away from home.
"Despite looking in retail stores for something different or special for me to eat safely, my relatives found that there was nothing on offer and commented regularly about this," she said.
She set up the Feel Free food range, now available in ASDA stores across the UK, which clearly states that it is a gluten-free food product on the front and back of the product's packaging.
The new law comes into force across Europe today.
© 2014 - European Supermarket Magazine
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