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The UK has left the EU and is in trade talks with the US, so we decided to have a look at how two countries compare in terms of the food allergens law.

The UK food law identifies 14 major allergens: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs, lobsters), eggs, fish, lupine, milk, mollusks (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts). The allergens should be clearly labeled and/or communicated to the customer. While there is no “specific legal requirement” to label food that might be cross contaminated with “may contains” or “not suitable for”, most producers do just that to make sure the customers with allergies can make informed choice.

The US food law recognizes 8 major allergens, based on the Act passed in 2004…. Yes, it’s been a while. The Act recognizes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans as major allergens. These allergens should be clearly stated in the ingredients list or straight after it in a “contains” box”. Allergens that are used as additives, such gluten, artificial colorants, and sulphites should also be stated on the product label. It’s worth noting that US has a handful non profit organizations which provide allergen certification and a lot of producers who go through this process willingly. Of course we could count on the UK sellers of the US goods to provide us with the labels according to the UK/EU standards but we all know not everyone will do it.

© Box of Plenty, 2021