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The EU Labelling Directive

Picture from Colourbox.

The Labelling Directive (Directive 2000/13/EC) and its later amendments is the only piece of EU legislation that specifically refers to allergenic foods. The Labelling Directive requires manufacturers to declare all ingredients present in pre-packaged foods sold in the EU with very few exceptions. This directive has been amended a number of times with regard to allergens. The two most important amendments are:

Directive 2003/89/EC introduced Annex IIIa, which is a list of allergenic foods that must always be labelled when present in a product.

Directive 2007/68/EC has the most recent amendment of Annex IIIa. It lists all the allergenic foods that must be labelled as well as a few products derived from these foods for which allergen labelling is not required.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) web site also provides information on food allergen labelling in Europe.  The scientific panel responsible for food allergies has for example provided a number of opinions as the scientific basis for the labelling legislation and exemptions from it.

More information

EU directives on food labelling:

  • The website of the European Commission describes the labelling regulations in Europe in full where the text of the directives is available in several languages.

EFSA opinions:

  • Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission relating to the evaluation of allergenic foods for labelling purposes. The EFSA Journal (2004) 32, 1-197.
  • Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission relating to the evaluation of lupin for labelling purposes. The EFSA Journal (2005) 302, 1-11.
  • Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies on a request from the Commission relating to the evaluation of molluscs for labelling purposes. The EFSA Journal (2006) 327, 1-25.