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Open Access European Regulations for Labeling Requirements for Food Allergens and Substances Causing Intolerances: History and Future

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Food allergens and intolerances have been diagnosed by doctors for decades, but have received heightened attention in the last two decades because diagnosis and awareness have increased. Consequently, regulators in many jurisdictions have addressed this topic by introducing labeling requirements for substances causing allergies and intolerance reactions in affected individuals. Mandatory labeling of food allergens allows persons suffering from these to make informed choices. However, regulations in some geographic areas have resulted in significant problems for manufacturers as well as consumers. This has been mainly due to frequent changes and amendments, and it has been difficult for all stakeholders to follow and understand the status quo of legislation. The present paper describes the development of European directives and regulations for the labeling of food allergens and intolerances to substances like gluten over the past decades and provides an outlook of what can reasonably be expected to change in the coming years. It also identifies existing gaps, like a lack of threshold levels for adventitious contamination and consequently a proliferation of precautionary allergen labeling, which neither benefits the consumer nor the food industry in its current form.
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Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: FOCOS GbR, Food Consulting... Strategically, Zum Kälterhaus 6b, 63755 Alzenau, Germany

Publication date: 01 January 2018

This article was made available online on 05 December 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "European Regulations for Labeling Requirements for Food Allergens and Substances Causing Intolerances: History and Future".

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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