Lindt, hidden allergens

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Great Italian Food Trade’s investigation into compliance with European rules protecting allergic consumers continues. The Lindt case.

Food allergies and intolerances, celiac disease, and consumer information

Specific information on the presence of allergenic ingredients-even in trace, or derived form (1)-in food products has crucial health significance. Indeed, its defect can pose serious health risks to vulnerable groups of consumers (immune reactions and anaphylactic shocks of even fatal outcome in the case of allergies, diseases of increasing severity for intolerances). (2)

The ‘Food Information to Consumers‘ regulation has strengthened the protection of allergic and intolerant consumers in two respects:

– Introduction of arequirement to give graphic evidence to the keywords of individual allergens in order to facilitate their identification when reading the ingredient list,

– extension of the mandatory duty of specific information to all food, even when sold in bulk or pre-wrapped, or administered in public establishments ( including catering activities).

The Lindt & Sprüngli Case

Examination of labels to emblazoned brands, such as Mulino Bianco and Nestlé, that do not comply with European allergen-specific information rules continues.

The situation is repeated with Lindt & Sprüngli, where even the ‘99% cocoa’ chocolate may contain unidentified ‘nuts’ as well as milk and even soy.

It is always useful to denounce the illegality of the generic reference to nuts, most recently stigmatized in the European Commission Guidelines. With a call to the relevant health authorities to wake up from an oblivion that has already lasted a dozen years and therefore cannot be tolerated any further.

It is time for everyone to take responsibility. Operators, on both fronts of self-control and consumer information. Control bodies, on prescriptions and penalties.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Outside of only those products derived from allergenic ingredients expressly excluded from specific information requirements under Reg. EU 1169/11, Annex II. Following scientific assessments by Efsa, which established the inability of some substances-though derived from allergenic ingredients-to trigger pathological reactions in individuals sensitive to their raw materials

(2) Food bearing inaccurate information about the presence of allergens therefore qualifies as a food with a food safety risk, according to Reg. EC 178/02, Article 14