Ensure food safety and the correct labelling of your productsThe safety of our food products can be affected by food allergies, which are adverse reactions of the body based on immunological factors. Allergenic proteins stimulate the immune system in certain individuals leading to an excessive and pathological response. Allergy symptoms may be mild (nasal congestion, inflammation and skin rashes, etc.), but in some cases more severe symptoms such as asthma, diarrhoea or colic may occur. In severe cases, anaphylactic shock can occur, which can lead to death.
Allergens are mainly proteins or glycoproteins that occur naturally in food. This group also includes other allergens such as sulfites (E220-228), food preservatives used to prevent browning or discoloration of foods, or lactose, a sugar that can cause intolerance problems in some people. These substances can be found in processed foods resulting from the use of an ingredient or additive that is derived from allergenic foods. They can also be found as a result of cross-contamination during the food manufacturing process.
For the purposes of consumer information, Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 regulates the presence in foods of a total of 14 groups of substances that may cause food allergies or intolerances. It also establishes that all packaged foods must compulsorily mention the presence of this type of substance by means of a typographical composition that clearly differentiates it from the rest of the list of ingredients.
This means that food manufacturers and food operators must check for the possible presence of these substances by means of sufficiently reliable analytical controls.