EUROPE – Allergens, how to ensure the application of the rules today

The protection of consumers suffering from food allergies is rooted in the so called 'General Food Law' (1), as well as in the so called Allergen Directive (2) and most recently in the so called 'Food Information Regulation' (3). The EU Regulation 1169/11 is already 'binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States' (4). But health authorities are left to themselves, waiting for the government to update the now very old Law 01/27/92 n.109 with appropriate sanctions (5). Rightly so, however, these rules have a sanitary importance and it is therefore possible to ensure their implementation referring to the legislative decree. 06/11/07 n. 193 (6). Let's see how.


Specific information on allergenic ingredients, where and how. The presence, even accidental, of 'substances or products causing allergies or intolerances' (7) must be specifically declared both on food for sale to the final consumer (packaged, unpackaged and pre wrapped), both in respect of each food and drink given in bars and public eating places, restaurants, canteens, 'caterings'. The Ministry of Health, with its ministerial memorandum 6.2.15, stated the duty of detailed information, to be included in a register of ingredients available to consumers and the supervisory authorities (8).

Duties of self-checking. Food business operators, and likewise public operators, must ensure the safety of the food they sell and / or distribute. This implies a duty to prepare and effectively implement good hygiene practices and HACCP systems which are meant to prevent, control and mitigate the risks of physical, chemical or microbiological contamination which include the c.d. 'cross-contamination' by allergens not intentionally used in the process.


The supervisory authorities, in doing so may intervene with different tools:

– In case the FBO has not respected 'the general requirements on hygiene in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 and other specific requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 ', it may impose a fine of between € 500 to € 3,000 (9),

– In case it is found that the FBO has omitted 'to set up self-checking procedures based on HACCP principles', it may impose a fine of between € 1,000 to € 6,000 (10). And especially,

– 'If the competent authority finds inadequacies in the requirements or procedures (..) setting a reasonable period of time within which these deficiencies must be eliminated. The failure to comply within the prescribed period shall be punished with fine from € 1,000 to € 6,000 '(11).

The administrative prescription act and possible sanction may therefore well be motivated (12), making reference to the above provisions which give sanitary importance to the possible omission of information about the presence of allergenic ingredients on for sale or served food. Omission that is revealed in incomplete or redundant news, whose inaccuracy still reflects an inadequate approach to the prevention of food safety risk. Without the need to wait any longer, here and now.

(Dario Dongo)


(1) Reg. CE 178/02, article 14
(2) Dir. 2003/89 / EC as amended, all abolished by reg. EU 1169/11 (3) EU Reg. 1169/11, art. 9.1.c e Annex II,
(4) EU Reg. 1169/11, art. 55, last paragraph,
(6) Leg. 193/07, 'Implementation of Directive 2004/41 / EC relating to checks in food safety and application of Community regulations in the same sector', (7) EU Reg. 1169/11, Annex II,
(8) See,
(9) Legislative Decree193/07, article 6, subparagraph 5,
(10) Legislative Decree. 193/07, article 6, subparagraph 6,
(11) Legislative Decree. 193/07, article 6, subparagraph 7,
(12) Law 241/90 and amendments, article 3, su