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Label bank

Allergen labeling under the new Food Labeling Standard

Food allergen labeling review is one of the most important processes when regulatory consultants develop food labels. Let's check out some changes made in allergen labeling under the new standard.

Three main changes in allergen labeling:

Change 1.
The name of specified processed foods, as well as the ingredient name that includes the name of specified processed food can no longer be mentioned on food product labels without declaration (either individual or collective) of the allergen present in respective ingredient.

Change 2.
All allergens must be in principle individually labeled, except for certain cases.

Change 3.
If allergens are to be listed collectively, all names of allergens must be declared at the end of the ingredient list.

New Standard (Ingredient list with individual allergen declaration)

【新基準(個別表示)】

原材料名小麦粉、コーン、マヨネーズ(卵を含む)、マーガリン、砂糖、脱脂粉乳、食塩、パン酵母
添加物酸化防止剤(V.E)、香料、乳化剤(大豆由来)、イーストフード、V.C
Food ingredientswheat flour, corn, mayonnaise (including eggs), margarine, sugar, skim milk powder, salt, bread yeast
Food additivesantioxidants (VE), flavoring, emulsifier (soy derived), yeast food, VC

New Standard (Ingredient list with collective allergen declaration)

原材料名小麦粉、コーン、マヨネーズ、マーガリン、砂糖、脱脂粉乳、食塩、パン酵母、(一部に卵・小麦・乳成分を含む)
添加物酸化防止剤(V.E)、香料、乳化剤、イーストフード、V.C、(一部に大豆を含む)
Food ingredientswheat flour, corn, mayonnaise, margarine, sugar, skim milk powder, salt, bread yeast, (Including traces of eggs, wheat, milk)
Food additivesantioxidant (VE), flavoring, emulsifiers, yeast nutrient, VC, (including traces of soybeans)

An example of the specified processed foods mentioned in "Change 1" above is mayonnaise.
As the "Change 3" pointed out, even if wheat flour is mentioned in the ingredient list, "wheat" must be repeated when allergens are collectively labeled. (Among other changes, the new Standard requires the mention of "including traces of xxx" or the use of dot "・", where appropriate.)

The sample ingredient labeling above list food ingredients and food additives separately, but they can be listed together if separated by a slash (/) between food ingredients and food additives.

New Standard (Collective allergen declaration without the food additive labeling section)

原材料名小麦粉、コーン、マヨネーズ、マーガリン、砂糖、脱脂粉乳、食塩、パン酵母  酸化防止剤(V.E)、香料、乳化剤、 イーストフード、V.C、(一部に卵・小麦・乳成分・大豆を含む)
Ingredientwheat flour, corn, mayonnaise, margarine, sugar, skim milk powder, salt, bread yeast antioxidants (VE), perfumes, emulsifiers, yeast food, VC, (including traces of eggs, wheat, milk components, soybean in part)

There are four types of ingredient lists in total, including the individual allergen declaration without the food additive labeling section. The third ingredient list sample (Collective allergen declaration without the food additive labeling section) looks relatively simple compared to others but you should note that all allergens must be in principle individually labeled, except for certain cases (Change 2).

The Q&A for the new Standard gives some examples of the case where all names of allergens appear in parentheses collectively. (Example 1: Collective declaration is permitted where the number of characters can be decreased with collective declaration, the surface area of the package is limited and the individual declaration is difficult.)

In order to avoid reflecting both old and new Standard in a product label, some companies may standardize their labeling methods. Meanwhile, it is useful to know several possible labeling combinations of the ingredient list to reduce labeling errors.

If the product comes with, for example, a separate soup and ingredients in a pack, providing a separate food additive section on the label will be more consumer-friendly. It is important to provide product information from a viewpoint of consumers.

Source: CAA, "Q&A for new Food Labeling Standard"
http://www.caa.go.jp/foods/index18.html

July 2015