The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has supported the inclusion of a list of potentially allergenic ingredients into labelling rules within new European Union (EU) legislation (directive 2003/89).

It has concluded this is justified by the risk of cereals containing gluten, fish, crustaceans, eggs, peanuts, lactose, other nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds and sulphites causing allergic reactions in consumers. It said the list should be constantly reviewed in light of developments in food technology.

These named potential allergens have to be included in ingredient lists on packaging, even when within compound ingredients. The agency was also asked to define minimum levels of exposure beyond which allergic reactions could not occur; it said there was insufficient information upon which to draw firm conclusions.