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What are the legal requirements in EU?

On this part of the website we provide information about the legal requirements in Europe regarding allergenic foods for manufacturers operating in the EU or wishing to export to the EU or other countries in Europe that have implemented the EU laws.

The EU Labelling Directive requires you to label pre-packed foods containing certain allergenic ingredients. As in many other areas of the world the labelling legislation for allergenic foods is mainly based on recommendations from the Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Food Labelling. In addition to the EU Labelling Directive you need to be aware of the EU General Food Law, which puts you under an obligation to provide safe food. You also need to be aware of the EU food hygiene legislation, which requires you to implement procedures to prevent the production and sale of unsafe foods.

Currently, the EU Labelling Directive neither covers foods sold loose nor allergens that enter foods inadvertently through, for example, the use of common processing equipment, or adjacent production lines. In the section on “Food Manufacturing” you can read about how food authorities and/or food federations in different countries recommend management and labelling of products that may contain small amounts of allergens because of cross-contact.

Finally you will find a list with contact information for several national authorities responsible for food allergy.

Disclaimer: We aim to provide a concise background to the EU law, but we do not intend to provide detailed legal advice. Anyone requiring detailed legal advice must contact a properly qualified legal practitioner. While we have taken every care to provide accurate information, we cannot be held legally responsible for the content of these pages or for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations. The information covers the legal requirements as of July 2008.