WHAT’S THERE, WHAT’S NOT THERE
A step-by-step guide to allergens and all the information on the label
GLUTEN-FREE – ALLERGENS – PRESERVATIVES-FREE – NO THICKENERS
The information on the label always arouses interest,
Food labelling serves to protect the consumer both from a health and an economic point of view, helping him to compare products on the market and to make informed purchases. Food labels must contain the mandatory legal information that must be visible, clear, legible and indelible; the characters shall observe the minimum height of 1.2mm referred to in the letter “x” for packages whose maximum area measures more than 80 cmq; for smaller packages, the minimum font height is set at 0.9 mm.
Mandatory food label information
GLUTEN AND GLUTEN FREE
Definition of celiac disease (from AIC): Celiac disease (or Celiac disease) is a chronic inflammation of the small intestine, triggered by the ingestion of gluten in genetically predisposed subjects. Gluten is a protein complex present in some cereals, such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, spelt, Khorasan wheat (often on the market as KAMUT®), triticale.
On the label gluten is highlighted in the ingredients list by placing in bold and emphasized the raw material that contains it such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, farro, kamut.
The GLUTEN-FREE claim is added voluntarily by the company, it is not a mandatory indication. BUT the “Annual Report to Parliament on Celiac Disease 2018 (Annex C 17 publications 2902)” indicates that it is not possible to communicate “Gluten-free” on products that are naturally gluten-free..
Based on this, Citres was only able to enter the “Gluten Free” claim on some products.
All Citres products do not contain gluten except for peppers with tuna 212 and chillies with tuna 1000 g.
ALLERGENS CROSS-CONTAMINATION MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION
Definition of allergy (from Food Allergies and Consumer Safety – Ministry of Health, Annex C17 publications 2134 annex): Allergy is a reaction of the organism to particular substances present in the environment, for example in air or food. Allergies are widespread, affect about one in four people, can appear at any time in life and can be both transient and permanent. Having an allergy can cause annoyances of different magnitudes and affect daily activities. Most allergic reactions, however, are mild or moderate and can be kept under control. More rarely, severe allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock, which is a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment, can occur. Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Usually, if you come into contact with them, the allergic reaction appears quickly, within a few minutes. Food allergy is an adverse immunological reaction to food.
It is important to test allergens to ensure consumer safety, ensure proper processing of food and identify any cross contamination by monitoring ingredients and raw materials, finished products and surfaces in contact with food, to verify the accuracy and cleanliness of processing procedures, monitoring surfaces and washing water, and ensuring correct labelling.
The labels of prepackaged products must bear the possible presence of any ingredient or technological adjuvant that causes allergies or intolerances, used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form.
According to EU Regulation 1169/2011 there are 14 allergens to be communicated to consumers: cereals containing gluten, crustaceans and products based on crustaceans, eggs and products based on eggs, fish and derivatives, peanuts and products based on peanuts, soybeans and derivatives, milk and products based on milk, nuts, celery and products based on celery, mustard and products based on mustard, sesame, sulphur dioxide and sulphites, lupins, molluscs.
A clear reference should be made on the label to the name of the substance defined as an allergen, to be highlighted separately from the remaining indications, in size, style or background color.
CLAIM, fat-free, low in sugar…
In addition to providing the necessary information relating to the product marketed, the food label can be used by the manufacturer as a means of enhancing its products and by the consumer to make more careful choices in line with his needs.
Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 harmonises so-called claims, i.e. nutrition and health claims provided on foodstuffs, in order to ensure that consumers are accurate and truthful. “Calorie-free, fat-free, low-sugar, fiber-rich, high-protein, light, omega-3 fatty acids” are examples of claims that we often find on the label, they are understood as any indication that claims, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties, due to the energy it brings, brings at a reduced rate or increased or does not bring; and/or nutrients or other substances it contains, contains in small, increased or uncontaining proportions.
“Free from” products are products that do not contain those ingredients that for different reasons, intolerances or food allergies, but also more simply as a dietary alternative are eliminated from their diet, LACTOSE-FREE, SALT-FREE, PALM OIL-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, PRESERVATIVE-FREE, THICKENING-FREE, COLOR-FREE.
These are non-mandatory but voluntary indications.
Food additives are substances deliberately added to food products to perform certain technological functions, for example to color, sweeten, preserve or improve appearance, taste, color and perfume. Additives are substances present in almost all foods, excluding basic foods such as virgin olive oil.
All additives must be indicated on the label of the respective product; however, the law does not require them to indicate whether they are contained in an ingredient.
Additives are divided into classes, the main ones are:
Citres uses two of the most commonly used acidity regulators: E330 citric acid and E270 lactic acid.
330 – CITRIC ACID: In food labels it is referred to by the acronym E330, sodium citrates do not hurt and are considered safe for health. We find them in jam, yogurt, meats and many food products. Citric acid is useful not only for the food industry but also at home. Lemon is rich in citric acid and that is why we often consider it a good natural remedy for cleaning the house. Citric acid is easy to find on the market. It is enough to mix it with water in different proportions to obtain a softener (with lower doses) or a discrusant for washing machine (more concentrated). It can be useful for cleaning the iron plate or as an anti-limescale. Perfect for eliminating bad smells from the washing machine, dryer, fridge or dishwasher. It can also be used to lengthen the storage time of homemade jam. Citric acid obviously does not contain gluten.
E270 – LACTIC ACID: In food labels it is referred to by the abbreviation E270, it is an acidity regulator. Lactic acid is not considered to be dangerous to health so that there is no upper limit of use.