New regulations on allergens

On December 13, regulation 1169/11 comes into force, which refers to the food information provided to the consumer. This new legislation implies that consumers have the right to decide which products or foods to buy being duly informed about them. He also makes special mention of allergies and intolerances, which are increasingly common in the population.

Despite being published in 2011, it is not until now that it comes into force and the entire food industry but also the hospitality industry must apply it.

Despite being a very broad regulation that touches on several topics, we are going to try to make a summary of its main novelties:


It will be mandatory for most processed foods. Among the elements to be declared in a mandatory way are the energy value, fats, saturated fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salt.

All data will refer to 100 gr or 100 ml to be able to compare reference intakebetween different products. Although they can add the declaration “by portion” to make it easier to interpret. They will also be compared with the reference intakes of an average adult (2,000 Kcal).

The only exception to this type of labeling will be alcoholic beverages with a graduation higher than 1.2% and non-packaged foods.



Undoubtedly one of the problems until now was not so much that the packaged products did not carry enough information, but that it was almost impossible to read it on the packaging because of the tiny letter. Many of us start to walk around and bring the container close to our noses when we are shopping at the supermarket.

From now on this label must be clear and legible , for this a minimum size is established in the letter, and everything must be in the same place. Nothing to collect the information on all sides of the package.

It also refers to the labels being permanent and not detaching from the container if they are stuck.


If until now the only ones who were obliged to indicate the country of origin was fresh beef (along with vegetables, honey, fruits and olive oil) now it is extended to other types of meats such as fresh pork, sheep, goats and poultry.


Undoubtedly one of the most relevant points since it not only refers to packaged products but to all non-packaged foods that are sold to the final consumer.

This includes the entire hospitality sector (bars, restaurants, cafes, dining rooms, etc.) that must adapt their menus or at least inform their customers of the possible allergenic substances that their dishes contain.

The allergens they must report are classified into 14 groups:

1- Cereals that contain gluten , namely: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled, kamut or their hybrid varieties and derived products.

2. Crustaceans and products based on crustaceans.

3. Eggs and egg products.

4. Fish and fish-based products.

5. Peanuts and peanut-based products.

6. Soy and soy-based products.

7. Milk and its derivatives (including lactose).

8. Nuts , ie: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, alfónzigos, macadamia nuts or Australian nuts and derived products.

9. Celery and derived products.

10. Mustard and derived products.

11. Sesame grains and products made from sesame grains.

12. Sulfur dioxide and sulphites in concentrations greater than 10 mg / kg or 10 mg / liter in terms of total SO2, for products ready for consumption or reconstituted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

13. Lupins and lupine-based products.

14. Mollusks and mollusc-based products.


These allergens must be highlighted in relation to the rest of the ingredients, for example in bold or with a symbol.

In the case of ingredients whose surface area is less than 10 cm 2, the list of ingredients can be omitted, but the substances that cause allergies of the previous classification must appear.

If you have more questions about these or other points that should appear on the label, consult this question and answer document on the application of the regulations.

For more information on allergies or intolerances, consult this infographic from the Spanish agency for food safety and nutrition (AESAN)

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