Allergens in law - European legislation assessed against the preferences of food allergic consumers

M.J. Hendriks, L.J. Frewer, B.M.J. van der Meulen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article reviews current European legislation concerning allergens and their labelling, in particular in relation to the need to optimise consumer protection and improve the quality of life of food allergic consumers. Adequate communication concerning the presence of (potentially) allergenic ingredients is, for susceptible individuals, essential if intake of these hazardous ingredients is to be avoided. European food labelling legislation requires pre-packaged foodstuffs to be labelled with a list of ingredients, including a reference to allergens. However, some food products and ingredients are excluded from these labelling requirements. These exceptions may represent hazards for food allergic individuals. In order to contribute to a higher level of consumer protection some issues which have potential to improve the existing European legislation have been identified. At the present time, food producers voluntarily use precautionary labelling to warn allergic consumers for the possible unintentional presence of allergens. An embedding of precautionary labelling in European legislation is advocated. To improve the readability of the information, European legislation should include some additional requirements. The information provision should be uniform at least across European Member States. Additional research is required in order to harmonise regulations and consumer preferences for information provision at the international level
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-87
JournalEuropean Food and Feed Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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