Under clause 4 of standard 1.2.3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), eleven foods or substances are identified as requiring mandatory declaration on the label of packaged foods for sale in Australia. These foods or substances can cause an allergic, intolerant or auto-immune response in some people. Declaring the presence of these substances on the label of packaged food allows people with allergies to make informed and safe choices about the food they buy.
For unpackaged food that is not required to bear a label, such as meals from a café or restaurant, allergen advisory statements and declarations must be stated in labelling that is displayed in connection with the display of the food or provided to the purchaser on request.
The Code also states that food businesses must take reasonable measures to ensure they do not compromise the safety and suitability of food. For example, by keeping preparation areas and equipment separate, and ensuring equipment is properly cleaned so that non-allergenic food is not mixed in with allergenic food.
The 11 substances are:
- cereals containing gluten and their products – namely, wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt, and their hybrid strains
- crustacea and their products
- egg and egg products
- fish and fish products
- milk and milk products
- peanuts and peanut products
- tree nuts and tree nut products (does not include coconut)
- sesame seeds and sesame seed products
- soybean and soybean products
- added sulphites in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more
There are also strict mandatory warning statement requirements to declare the presence of royal jelly.
The full text of clause 4 of standard 1.2.3 - Mandatory Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations can be found here.
The new 'Allergen factsheets for food businesses' have been designed to help food businesses identify food allergens and understand their obligations to customers. They also provide supporting materials that can help a business implement a basic plan on handling and preparing foods with allergens.