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Avoid incidents with a food allergy checklist

Use this food allergy checklist to comply with allergen list requirements.

What Is a Food Allergy Checklist?

Affected individuals who suffer from food allergy or intolerance need to choose their foods carefully and pay attention to the ingredient list for processed foods. The introduction of mandatory labeling of many foods known to cause allergies in the list of ingredients has largely resulted in better information for affected consumers.

In food production and in catering establishments, the labeling of allergens is therefore mandatory. Since December 13, 2014, according to the EU regulation, all businesses that work with food must label allergens in their food and beverages. Via the so-called allergen list, it must be clearly shownon all packaging, in menus or on a notice board where which ingredients are contained that can trigger food allergies or intolerances. The basis for the labeling requirement is Annex II of the Food Information Regulation (LMIV) Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011.

Allergen checklists are critically important to the food industry and restaurateurs. Manufacturers use them to enable effective allergen control during production. With the help of the checklist, it is ensured that all foods receive the necessary allergen labeling at the end of production to avoid health risks for consumers. At the same time, the allergen checklists in production and catering support the quality assurance of the products and minimize the risk of legal consequences, such as fines or business closures. Alongside proper allergy storage compliance, monitoring correct food temperature with the use of a food temperature log template is vital.

This article addresses the following topics:

1. The 14 most common food allergens that must always be listed

2. How to educate customers about allergens in the foodservice industry

3. A digital solution for the food allergy checklist

The 14 Food Allergens to Be Indicated on the Allergen List

About two to three percent of adults and four to eight percent of children are affected by allergies to foods. Food allergies are an intolerance reaction to certain foods that is accompanied by an immune response. The allergic reactions can vary.

To be distinguished from food allergies are food intolerances. These are intolerance reactions without immune system involvement, which is why they are often associated with mild reactions.

Food allergies can be triggered by up to 160 foods. Legislation has stipulated that the 14 most common triggers of food allergy and intolerance, which are responsible for the majority of all food allergies, must always be listed in the ingredient list or be apparent from the food’s name:

  1. Gluten-containing grains, namely wheat (such as spelt and khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats or hybrid strains thereof, and products derived therefrom
  2. Crab animals and products derived therefrom
  3. Eggs and products thereof
  4. Fish and products derived therefrom
  5. Peanuts and products derived therefrom
  6. Soybeans and products derived therefrom
  7. Milk and products thereof (including lactose)
  8. Nuts, namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios , macadamia or Queensland nuts and products derived therefrom
  9. Celery and products derived therefrom
  10. Mustard and products thereof
  11. Sesame seeds and products thereof
  12. Sulfur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations greater than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/l as total SO2 present
  13. Lupins and products thereof
  14. Molluscs and products thereof

Detailed information, especially regarding the exceptions, can be found in Annex II of the EU Food Information Regulation. The obligation to label allergenic ingredients applies regardless of any labeling exemptions. For example, it is not permitted to use a class name such as “flavor” alone; allergens contained must be indicated in addition. In addition, in the case of foods for which no list of ingredients is required, the allergenic ingredients must be listed. In lists of ingredients, allergenic ingredients must also be optically highlighted.

Many manufacturers additionally specify the so-called trace labeling. The imprint may contain traces of … is a voluntary indication. This informs consumers that the unintentional introduction of allergenic substances into the food cannot be avoided technologically with absolute certainty. Accordingly, the food does not have to contain traces of allergens, but it can also not be excluded.

Labelling of Allergens in the Catering Industry

As outlined earlier, there are various methods and regulations for how contained allergens must be labeled. A designation of food that clearly draws attention to the contained allergen – such as a strawberry milkshake or celery butter – does not have to be additionally explained. Food and beverages without self-explanatory names must be supplemented by markings such as “contains hazelnuts” or those that refer to directories. The reference to a directory can be implemented in the form of a number corresponding to the corresponding ingredient in the allergen list.

The list to allergen list can be in the menu or well visibly posted in the guest room. It may also be verbally informed about allergens, however, a written allergen list must still be accessible to the guest. Restaurateurs must ensure that the list is available for review prior to ordering. Exclusions of liability in the allergen list are just as invalid as an allergen list that is not accessible to guests. In case of doubt, the restaurateur or entrepreneur is liable for the correctness of his information.

To ensure that allergen information is not hidden, obscured, or possibly printed too small and thus illegible, the legislator also specifies the minimum font size: 1.2 millimeters, measured at a small “x”, and 0.9 millimeters for small packages under 80 square centimeters. Those who adhere to all specifications and work thoroughly have nothing to worry about and also protect their guests.

A Digital Solution for the Food Allergy Checklist

Lumiform’s mobile app actively supports you in creating the allergen list. You can easily create an ingredient list and flexibly adjust it. With changing offers, the allergen list can be transferred. In addition, digital checklists can be used to check whether the staff is sufficiently trained and whether there are risks in the company for allergen labeling.

Everything is done conveniently via tablet or smartphone – online or offline. The desktop software is used to create the test and allergen lists and then evaluate the collected data. This significantly reduces the risk for documentation errors and reputational damage.

Other benefits of a digital allergen list application include:

  • With the help of the flexible form builder, any individual paper list is converted into a digital checklist within minutes.
  • Corrective actions for problem areas or items identified during the inspection can be assigned to responsible staff from the App.
  • Get an overview of food production quality through analysis.

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