Nowadays the term "allergens" in food is becoming more and more common, however, it is necessary that we know some details to know the great impact that can cause in our food.
As a first point, what does Allergen mean?
Allergen is any substance that triggers a response on the part of our body's immune system upon contact with it; this response is commonly known as Allergy. There are countless allergens of all kinds.
From this we can then conclude that food allergen is any food that contains substances that cause this response of our body, generally this hypersensitivity is of genetic origin, commonly transferred in an inherited form.
For this important reason is that the European Regulation (1169/2011) specified from December 13, 2014, 14 food groups with allergenic content that must be present on food labels, these groups are as follows:
1. Cereals containing gluten: Wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut or their hybrid varieties and derived products.
This point excludes wheat-based glucose syrups, including dextrose; wheat-based maltodextrins; barley-based glucose syrups; and cereals used to make alcoholic distillates, including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin.
2. Lupins and all lupin products
3. Celery and products thereof
4. Crustaceans and products based on crustaceans: All products that may contain shellfish even in traces.
5. Milk and Milk Products: Baked goods, baking mixes, margarine, processed meats, protein powder, salad dressing, low-fat milk powder, whey.
6. Sulphur dioxide and sulfites: At concentrations greater than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre in terms of total SO2, for ready-to-eat or reconstituted products according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7. Sesame seeds and products based on sesame seeds: All products that may contain traces of sesame.
8. Molluscan shellfish and shellfish products: All products that may contain traces of shellfish.
9. Mustard and derived products: All products that may contain traces of mustard.
10. Peanuts and Peanut Products: All products that contain peanuts or may also contain traces of peanuts
11.Eggs and egg products: Products that may contain eggs, including traces.
12. Fish and fish products: Except fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamins or carotenoid preparations and fish gelatine or ictiocola used as a clarifier in beer and wine.
13. Soy and soy products: Soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream and soy yogurt, soy flour, tofu, miso, natto, shoyu, tempeh, soy sauce and tamari, edamame, vegetable oil, vegetable gum, vegetable broth and vegetable starch.
14. Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts or Australian nuts and derived products.
How can I find out about foods with allergens?
The European regulation in force since December 13, 2014, determines that not only packaged products report the presence of allergens, but also those distributed in bars, hospitals, restaurants, schools and those sold in bulk and distance.
This regulation requires allergen information to comply with legibility standards: "Mandatory food information shall be prominently displayed in such a way as to be easily visible, clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible" and with a minimum font size of 1.2 mm.
On packaging that is too small to include a complete list of ingredients (only two details are compulsory: the expiry date and the allergens.
There is also an obligation to specify the origin of vegetable oils in food, which benefits those allergic to soya or sunflower seeds. All this is a step forward in food safety for people with food allergies: they will now know for sure what they can and cannot eat.
Finally, it is very important to take into account the reading on the packaging of the food we consume, in them we will know if they contain allergens or if they were made in lines where they could pass allergens, the above is a critical issue because if this is the case the products suffer cross-contamination, this is as harmful as the allergens themselves because it can cause the same risk to the health of sensitive people.
In San Juan Agroexport our green, organic and conventional vegetables such as French peas, Chinese peas, sweet peas, Creole peas, do not have allergens and we take care that they are free of allergens.