In England Heidsieck champagne has been withdrawn, there is no indication of sulphites on the label

In England Heidsieck champagne has been withdrawn, there is no indication of sulphites on the label

In England, the Food standards agency on 20 August issued an alert to communicate the withdrawal from the market of some batches of French Heidsieck Blue Top champagne, because the label for allergic consumers “contains sulphites” is missing. Generally the writing, even if not very visible, is present on most of the bottles. The legislation in fact provides that the allergens contained in the ingredients, additives and processing aids must be indicated on the label with their specific name (for example: soy, milk, Brazil nuts, celery). On the other hand, it is not necessary to add other phrases on the package such as: “Contains: soybean oil”, “Contains potentially allergenic substances”….

 When on the label appears the words: “May contain traces of …”, or “Possible presence of …”, followed by the name of the allergen, it means that the manufacturer is unable to guarantee the use of contamination-free materials . A typical case is that of chocolate, which often contains traces of milk or hazelnuts from the manufacturing processes of other products made in the same premises or with the same facilities.

  Even when the wording: “Product obtained in factories where we work …” followed by the name of the allergen appears on the package, it means that the manufacturer cannot exclude the presence of the allergenic substances indicated, even in minimal quantities. The information is mainly intended for very sensitive people, who may experience allergic reactions following the ingestion of very small doses. The law does not provide for tolerance limits below which the allergen must not be indicated. This element makes it more complex for the company to assess whether to report the problem on the label.

The exemptions

 The European Commission defined in 2009 the list of substances which, despite being derived from allergens, do not require a specific indication on the label. The decision came after EFSA established that as a result of the technological processes undergone in the manufacturing phase, allergens lost the ability to stimulate allergic reactions,

Among the exempted substances we find the distillates obtained from dried fruit in shell and cereals containing gluten considered allergens, because the distillation process has made the raw materials (eg wheat) “harmless” even for allergy sufferers.
The European Commission in 2005 also excluded the indication on the label when the presence of allergens is evident, it is therefore not necessary to indicate milk in products such as butter and yogurt even when cakes or other compound foods are used.

On the other hand, the use of terms such as “Produced in a factory that uses
… (eg nuts, sesame)”, used on many baked goods, appears questionable. The concept is that these are foods produced or packaged in establishments where
allergenic substances are used and where
involuntary contamination cannot be ruled out.

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