Circle of Clinical and Biological Investigations in Food Allergy



> New directives about labelling

Service de Médecine Interne
Immunologie Clinique
et Allergologie
Hopital Central
29, Av. de Lattre de Tassigny
54035 NANCY Cedex

The Directive 2003/89 of the Executive Committee of the European Parliament and Council has just been published on November 25th, 2003 (J.O. of the European Union L 308/15). It modifies the Directive 2000/13/CE concerning the indication of components making up food.
The slatei who are Members have till November 25th, 2004, to adopt the required measures in order to be able to sell products in accordance to the Directive from November 25th, 2004, onward.
The preamble stipulates the necessity for patients suffering from food allergy to find a thorougher information » through labelling.
It hints at the most common allergens, but it does not characterize some allergens as dangerous.
Consequently, sesame is not mentioned in this introduction, although we find it in the list of allergenes requiring declaration if they are contained in solid food or in drinks.

Components directed at in article 6, paragraph 3 bis, 10 and 11

  • Cereals containing gluten (mamely wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut or their hybridized stocks) or the basic products of theses cereals.
  • Seafood and products containing seafood.
  • Eggs and products containing egg.
  • Fish and products containing fish.
  • Groundnuts and products containing groundnuts.
  • Soya and products containing soya.
  • Milk and products containing milk (included lactose).
  • Nuts, mamely almonds (amygdalus communuis L.), hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), nuts (Juglans regia), cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale), Pecan nuts (Carya illinoiesis (Wangenh. K. Koch), Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa), pistachio-nuts (Pistacia vera), Macadamia nuts and Queensland nuts (Macadamia ternifolia) and products containing these nuts.
  • Celeriac and produces containing celeriac.
  • Mustard and products containing mustard.
  • Sesame seeds and products containing sesame seeds.
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites in concentration exceeding 10 mg/kg of… it is quite sure that this list will be systematically reconsidered and kept up to date according to most recent knowledge.
    The first reconsideration will take place before November 25th, 2005.

The ingredients are given in detail : if the ingredient is included in a proportion lower than 2%, the list of the components are not part of the list of allergens or if they belong to the categories of spices and aromatic plants or “if the making-up is defined within the context of a current community regulation” (? …)

Comment :
The implementation of this Directive will be a progress for the patients presenting identified food allergies. Allergists are quite aware that this Directive ratifies the already existing knowledge, but it will be of no help in the detection of new kinds of allergy. As in post times, they will have to achieve realistic prick-tests with suspicious food, from manufacturers get the whole making-up of their products, and find out sensitization to all the components. Indeed, we must keep on hoping that manufacturers will accept partnership and will not perversely misinterpret the Directive, by neglecting to give information on the nature of those ingredients that do not require it according to this Directive.