Based on scientific review, the EU has identified certain foods which are considered as common food allergens or foods which individuals in the general population may have intolerance to.
Where any of these identified substances are used as an ingredient in a food, Article 21 of FIC requires that they must be indicated in a particular manner on the label:
(a) They must be indicated in the list of ingredients with a clear reference to the name of the substance or product as listed in Annex II to FIC
(b) The name of the substance or product must be emphasised through a typeset that clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the list of ingredients, for example by means of the font, style or background colour
Where the food is exempt from the requirement to have a list of ingredients e.g. alcohol, the indication of the allergens must include the word ‘contains’ followed by the name of the allergen as listed in Annex II to FIC.
S.I. 489 of 2014 on the provision of food allergen information to consumers in respect of non-prepacked food has applied since the 13th of December 2014.
Food sold in loose form or packed on the premises at the request of the consumer or packed for direct sale or supply to the final consumer or mass caterer, is considered non-prepacked food
The S.I . requires all food businesses e.g. restaurants, delis, canteens, pubs, takeaways, retail outlets etc. providing non-prepacked foods e.g. unwrapped foods, meals etc., to indicate to consumers the use of any of the listed allergenic ingredients in the production or preparation of food.
The S.I. requires that food allergen information for non- prepacked food must, as a minimum, be provided in written format, but can also be provided verbally at any time.
The food business operator must indicate the allergens in writing at:
a) the point of presentation, or
b) the point of sale, or
c) the point of supply,
The written information must be
a) freely and easily accessible before the sale or supply of the food,
b) at least in the English or in the Irish language and in the English language,
c) in a conspicuous place, such that it is easily visible and available to the final consumer or mass caterer,
d) in clear legible script, and
e) presented in a manner such that there is no possibility of confusion as to which food the information relates
The FSAI have published two guidance documents to assist both food businesses and enforcement officers in regard to the requirements of the Health (Provision of Food Allergen Information to Consumers in respect of Non-Prepacked Food) Regulations 2014:
Bearing in mind the long shelf life of wines (beverages containing 10% or more by volume of alcohol are exempt from the requirement to indicate a date of minimum durability), previous legislation which granted certain derogations in relation to allergen information must be taken into account when reading the information provided on wine bottles.
Wines labelled before 25 November 2005
The requirement to indicate allergens was first introduced in 2005 (Directive 2003/89/EC). Therefore, any wines (as defined in Annex VII, Part II of Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013) placed on the market or labelled before the 25th November 2005, are exempt from the obligation to indicate the use of any of the EU listed allergens.
Wines labelled from 25 November 2005 to 29 June 2012
In 2005, Commission Directive 2005/26/EC established a list of food ingredients or substances which were provisionally excluded from the 25th November 2005 from the requirement to indicate their use as an ingredient in wines. Therefore, wines which were placed on the market or labelled from the 25th November 2005 until the 30th June 2012 are not required to indicate the following:
Lysozyme (produced from egg) used in wine
Albumin (produced from egg) used as fining agent in wine
Milk (casein) products used as fining agents in wines
Wines labelled after the 30th June 2012
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 579/2012 of 29 June 2012 sets out requirements regarding allergen information for wines which is applicable to wines made completely or partially from grapes harvested in 2012 or later and labelled after the 30th June 2012.
This Regulation set out requirements for wines as regards the terms concerning milk and milk-based products and eggs and egg-based products as referred to in Annex II to FIC. An indication of the presence of egg-based or milk-based products ingredients is only mandatory for wines if their presence can be detected in the final product using the analysis methods referred to in Articles 80(5) and 91(c) of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013.
Regulation (EU) No 579/2012 states that for the purposes of indicating sulphites/sulfites, milk and milk-based products and eggs and egg-based products the terms that must be used are those listed in part A of Annex X to Regulation (EU) No 579/2012.
The allergen indications in English may be in one of the following forms:
- In the case of Sulphur dioxide: ‘sulphites’, ‘sulfites’, ‘sulphur dioxide’ or ‘sulfur dioxide’
- In the case of egg : ‘egg’, ‘egg protein’, ‘egg product’, ‘egg lysozyme’ or ‘egg albumin’
- In the case of milk: ‘milk’, ‘milk products’, ‘milk casein’ or ‘milk protein’
These terms may be accompanied, as applicable, by one of the pictograms shown below which are copied from part B of Annex X to Regulation (EU) No 579/2012.
More detailed information on allergen labelling requirements on wine can be viewed here
In July 2017, the EU published an information document which is intended to assist businesses and national authorities in the application of the legislative requirements related to the provision of information on the common food allergens or foods which individuals in the general EU population may have intolerance to and which are listed in Annex II to FIC.
Last reviewed: 26/7/2017