Gluten and allergens, nightmare convenience stores. Todis’ labels and prewrappers.

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As for gluten-containing grains and allergens, labels and prewrappers must provide accurate information. Because the risk is serious, to the health of allergic and celiac consumers. But at Todis this is unfortunately not the case. Brief report from the nightmare convenience store.

We explored the refrigerated counters of a supermarket in the Monteverde area of central Rome. A convenience store pulled together and evolved, on the surface. With one glaring deficiency, however. The information offered to consumers about the composition of pre-wrapped products is incomplete and outlawed.

Gluten and allergens, labels outlawed

Meat preparations are labeled with only partial citation of ingredients. It refers to potato starch and breadcrumbs, for example, but does not indicate their composition. Which is not only dutiful, but requires the additional scruple of attributing graphic evidence to the keywords of allergenic ingredients (e.g., wheat flour, soy lecithin).

Wheat and sulfites, one must rely on intuition

Fish preparations, on the other hand, do not even list ingredients. One may thus suspect that ‘fish balls’ or ‘sea ribs’ contain wheat derivatives, marinated anchovies sulfites, but it is not known what else. What other allergenic ingredients in particular.

Circumvented regulations and health risks

Gluten and allergens should never be omitted from labels and prewrappers. This information is absolutely mandatory, according to EU Regulation 1169/11. And they reflect the health needs of a growing share of consumers, minors especially, with food allergies and celiac disease.

A nightmarish discounter is the image Todis offers of itself because of a totally inadequate quality system and/or network of consultants. Equally blameworthy are the Health Services on the ground for their failure to dutifully monitor and intervene.

Impunity reigns supreme, thanks in part to a government still unable to define sanctions to ensure compliance with the reg. EU 1169/11, so-called FIR (Food Information Regulation).

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.