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Current Position:Home » News » Law & Regulation » Topic

Regulations on Food Allergens Labelling in China

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2019-03-12  Views: 10
Core Tip: The identification and labelling of food allergens is a part of the Food Safety Management System and is an important food safety issue.
The identification and labelling of food allergens is a part of the Food Safety Management System and is an important food safety issue. Food companies shall pay more attention to it. In this article, Global Foodmate introduces food allergens, the regulations on food allergen labelling in China and Q&As of allergen labelling.

1. What is food allergen?

As defined in GB/T 23779-2009 Allergenic Ingredients in Prepackaged Foods, food allergen refers to natural presented or added substances in normal foods, which can cause allergic reactions when consumed by allergic people.  

2. What are common allergens?

The common foods that can cause the majority of reactions are:

Gluten-containing cereals and their products, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, and their hybrids;
Crustaceans and their products, such as shrimp, lobster, crab;
Milk and dairy products containing lactose;
Fish and their products;
Eggs and their products;
Peanuts and their products;
Soybeans and their products;
Nuts and their products, etc.

3. Regulations on food allergen labelling in China

(1) The National Standard GB/T 23779-2009 Allergenic Ingredients in Prepackaged Foods, which defines food allergens and lists 8 types of food allergens that are recommended to be labelled.

(2) GB 7718-2011 National Food Safety Standard General Standard for the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods officially included the labelling of food allergens into the management scope of food labelling since 2011. However, the labelling of food allergens was recommended, not mandatory.

(3) In November 2018, the draft of updated GB 7718 (not issued yet) was solicited for opinions in food industry, which stated the labelling of food allergens shall be mandatory.   


4. Q&As of labelling of food allergens

(1) Q: The ingredients in food include wheat flour, eggs, wheat bran, milk, etc. How should these allergens be labeled? 

      A: Food allergens can be directly listed in the ingredient list with easily identifiable names, such as milk, eggs, etc. They can also be marked in the vicinity of the ingredient list. With the guidance words, such as “Food allergen reminder”, “Allergen reminder” or “Allergen information”.

(2) Q: Do substances that may be brought into food need to be labeled? How to label them?

     A: Allergen information can be noted under the ingredients list, for example, “Allergen Information: Contains wheat and oats. This line also processes products containing sesames, soybeans, eggs and dairy products.”
 
 
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