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Product exemptions from allergen labelling

(August 2016)

In 2016 Standard 1.2.3 (Information requirements – warning statements, advisory statements and declarations) of the Food Standards Code was changed to remove mandatory allergen labelling requirements for some foods and ingredients derived from allergenic sources. These foods and ingredients have been assessed as safe, because they are processed in a way that makes them suitable for consumers who are allergic to wheat, soy or dairy.  
 
The products now exempt from the requirement are:
  • glucose syrups made from wheat starch (subject to low limits)
  • fully refined soy oil
  • soy derivatives (tocopherols and phytosterols)
  • distilled alcohol from wheat or whey.
Glucose syrups must have no more than 20 mg/kg detectable gluten to meet the requirements for an exemption from mandatory labelling of wheat.

What if I still want to check the plant source for the glucose syrups?

The Code requires that the name and address of the supplier be listed on the label and many manufacturers also supply phone numbers. You can contact suppliers to get information that’s not on the label.

Do the changes affect the requirements for gluten free labelling?

No. The labelling exemption for glucose syrups relates only to the mandatory requirement to declare wheat as a food allergen.
 
The exemptions do not affect the Code requirements for gluten free labelling. The current requirements for ‘gluten free’ claims include the condition that the food must not contain detectable gluten, or oats or oat products; or cereals containing gluten that have been malted, or products of such cereals. 
 
Producers of glucose syrups will not be able label their products as ‘gluten free’ if any detectable gluten is present in the product.

Safety assessment and research

FSANZ carried out a thorough safety assessment of the products considered for exemption and consulted with expert allergy clinicians in Australia and New Zealand during the assessment.

You can read all the risk assessment documents on the proposal page.

 
FSANZ considered:
  • available published and unpublished research
  • data from Australian and New Zealand-based studies showing:
                       - residual protein levels in product samples
                       - estimates of dietary exposure per meal consumption
  • the processing steps involved in reducing protein content in the final product
  • data showing the highest amount of allergenic food that can be consumed without causing an allergic reaction.

Consultation

 
FSANZ released two public consultation documents for this proposal. We also consulted closely with Australian and New Zealand organisations representing consumers with related allergies and intolerances during the assessment period.

International regulations

The four products being exempted in Australia and New Zealand are already exempt from allergen labelling requirements in Europe and other parts of the world. 

Other exemptions

The Food Standards Code also includes exemptions from allergen labelling for the following:
  •  in relation to cereals containing gluten, where these cereals are present in beer or spirits
  •  in relation to fish, isinglass derived from swim bladders and used as a clarifying agent in beer or wine
  • in relation to tree nuts, coconut from the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera.

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