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Undeclared allergens in food

Food control, analyses and risk assessment

image of Undeclared allergens in food

Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden collaborated during 2015 in a control project on allergen labeling. Products were also analysed for the allergens milk, egg, hazelnut, peanut and gluten. Correct labeling is the only aid for allergic consumers to avoid products which could pose a serious health risk. The widespread use of non-regulated precautionary allergen labeling (PAL) might decrease the amount of products available for allergic consumers. It can also pose a risk since the PAL might be ignored. On 10% of the controlled products, the allergenic ingredients were not correctly transcribed in the list of ingredients and EU regulations were thus not followed. Milk was the most frequently found undeclared allergen, especially in chocolate and bakery products, and therefore constitute a risk for allergic consumers. The results might give input to achieve EU legislation regarding PAL.

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Risk assessment regarding undeclared milk, hazelnut, peanut, egg and gluten based on results from the project Undeclared allergens in food

Food allergens are substances (often proteins) that commonly cause allergic reactions or other hypersensitivity reactions. Inadequate labelling of food allergens such as milk, egg, and different nuts can cause severe health problems for allergic individuals. The symptoms of an allergic reaction vary from mild to severe and can involve one or several organs such as the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, and the airways. The most severe symptom is anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death.

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