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The Codex recommendations

The Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Food Labelling has listed the foods and ingredients that cause the most severe reactions and most cases of food hypersensitivity.  In section 4.2.1.4 of General Standards for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods it states: “The following foods and ingredients are known to cause hypersensitivity and shall always be declared:

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  • Cereals containing gluten; i.e., wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or their hybridized strains and products of these;
  • Crustacea and products of these;
  • Eggs and egg products;
  • Fish and fish products;
  • Peanuts, soybeans and products of these;
  • Milk and milk products (lactose included);
  • Tree nuts and nut products; and
  • Sulphite in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more.”

While the Codex list contains the major allergens on a world-wide basis, the foods, which are common causes of allergic reactions, differ between geographical areas, as a result of dietary preferences, for instance. Some countries have chosen to include additional foods on their national list of foods and ingredients that must be declared on food labels.  The EU for example has chosen to add celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin, and molluscs and products thereof to the list of allergens, which must be declared on food labels.

More information

The Codex recommendations: