Guidance on "Free-From" Allergen Claims
Guidance to manufacturers and caterers on the appropriate use of "free-from" claims in relation to food allergens.
A growing number of food business operators, including manufacturers, retailers
and caterers are making “free-from” allergen or “allergen-free” claims for
food products. This document provides guidance to food business operators on
appropriate use of “free-from” claims in relation to food allergens. Terms such
as “free-from artificial colours/preservatives” and “meat-free” are outside the
scope of this guidance.
With the exception of “gluten-free”, there is no specific UK or EU legislation
claims. “Free-from” claims are therefore regulated in accordance with the
provisions of General Food Law (Regulation (EC) No 178/2002), as amended.
A “free-from” allergen claim is an absolute claim unless a regulatory threshold
has been set and should only be used following a rigorous assessment of the
ingredients, process and environment.
To make a “free-from” claim the following principles should be followed:
- The product recipe does not use any ingredients or compound ingredients
(including additives and processing aids) containing the specified “free-from”
(See sections 3 and 6 for exceptions)
- The product is made in an environment (e.g. a factory or catering facility)
strictly following good manufacturing practices (GMP) and allergen management
practices. (See sections 4 and 5)
- A robust sampling and testing programme (using a fully validated analytical
method) suitable for the specified allergen must be in place. (See sections 4
- The communication of a “free-from” claim to consumers, including labelling, of
the product must
comply with the relevant legal requirements. For catering in particular, since
foods will be provided in a nonprepacked format, effective communication
practices (between customer, front and back of house) are imperative.
Next page: Introduction
Last reviewed: 12 Nov 2015