How to adapt the menu to the law on allergens

On December 13, 2014 the new law on allergens came into force.

The law on allergens provides that the consumer of any food product is aware of the ingredients contained in foods, including allergens. This not only applies to “label” foods,  packaged products, but also to restaurant menus.

What is an allergen?

law on allergens

Law on allergens

It is a substance generally harmless for the  most consumers, but dangerous at various levels for allergy sufferers. It can produce in fact  allergic crises of various severities, such as asthma, rashes and more.

According to the new law, their presence must be indicated among the ingredients and highlighted (through the use of bold or of a different character, for example), in the labels of pre-packaged foods. For restaurants, however, it’s a bit different.

Law on allergens

Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction.
A substance can be identified as an allergen if it leads to unpleasant symptoms or damage in people with no previous history with this particular element and causes them physical discomfort when they come into contact with its pollen, mold spores (mild)dust mites, etc., causing sneezing among other problems such allergies manifest themselves differently depending on the type of protein was triggered, but for example: – hay fever could mean a runny nose, while eczema will leave angry red skin from irritation.

How to adapt the menu to the allergen law?

Law on allergens

First of all, the ingredients and the  allergens should be reported product by product. For example, the single billboard that brings together in a single word all the basic ingredients of ice-creams in an ice-cream parlor or in bars; rather, they must be listed one by one and in a complete and individual manner. And, speaking of bars or restaurants, the law requires everything to be done in writing: it is not enough for the restaurant owner or barista to give information “verbally” about the products.

How to adapt the menu to the new provisions? No drastic changes!

Law on allergens

Completed documentation must be prepared with the ingredients that make up each single dish. This can be attached to the menu or delivered to consumers upon request. Important: it is however mandatory to clearly indicate on the menu on  the presence of this documentation. Or again, reiterate it on the register or on a special sign.

What are the products that contain allergens?

Law on allergens

Unfortunately for those who suffer, they are more common than you can imagine: about a hundred. Avoiding dangers, however, is simple, and the list of main allergic reactions is restricted to fourteen. These are those ones that require mandatory reporting.

Remember to check the ingredients of the goods you buy for your premises and report any presence of allergens (eg: it may contain traces of nuts) in your documents. Here is a list to begin to become familiar with the law on allergens and the foods involved.

  1. Cereals containing gluten: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled, kamut or their hybridized strains and derived products. The following are excluded: wheat-based glucose syrups, including dextrose; wheat-based maltodextrins; glucose syrups based on barley; cereals used for the manufacture of alcoholic distillates;
  2. Crustaceans and products based on crustaceans.
  3. Eggs and egg products.
  4. Fish and fish products. The following are excluded: fish gelatine is  used as a support for vitamin or carotenoid preparations; gelatin or isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine.
  5. Peanuts and peanut-based products.
  1. Soya and soy products, except: refined soybean oil and fat; natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, soy-based natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate; vegetable oils derived from soybean phytosterols and phytosterols; vegetable stanol ester produced from soybean vegetable oil sterols.
  2. Milk and milk products (including lactose), except: (a) which are used for the manufacture of alcoholic spirits, including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin; b) milk.
  3. Nuts and their products, except for nuts used for the manufacture of alcoholic distillates, including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
  4. Celery and celery products.
  5. Mustard and mustard-based products.
  6. Sesame seeds and products based on sesame seeds.
  7. Sulfur dioxide and sulphites in concentrations of more than 10 mg / kg or 10 mg / liter in terms of total SO2  need to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or reconstituted in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.
  8. Lupins and products based on lupins.
  9. Molluscs and products based on molluscs.

Read also: How to contain the costs of the menu: 3 solutions.