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Which allergens are marked and how?
Where do I find the markings?
Why are allergens being marked now? What was the rule in the past?
The statutory prescribed markings for allergens exclusively applied to packaged goods in the past. The obligation to declare the contents has now been expanded to “loose” goods and foods. The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation came into force on 13 December 2014.
Its goal is to inform allergy sufferers about which of the 14 allergens needing to be labelled are included in any food before they make a decision to buy and without the need for any additional enquiries. As a result, people suffering from allergies can protect themselves from any involuntary contact with allergens.
To whom does the labelling obligation apply?
The new EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation ensures that any open foods, which are served to third parties, have to be marked if they contain any allergens that need to be labelled.
This applies to what is on offer at refectories and cafeterias, but also to all other catering facilities like restaurants, bakeries or snack bars.
Who are the markings directed at?
The new allergen markings are primarily directed at allergy sufferers and persons with intolerance towards certain foods.
As “doing without” is the only treatment for a person with an allergy towards certain foods, it is very important for people suffering from allergies to know whether “their” allergen is possibly found in any food that they have not prepared themselves. The markings are designed to help them protect themselves against any involuntary contact with allergens.
What is an allergen?
An allergen is one of a wide variety of tiny protein structures, which occur in (vegetable and animal) foodstuffs, pollen or on animals. These proteins are normally completely harmless. However, if the immune system forms anti-bodies against these harmless substances by mistake, the immune system may overreact strongly if it comes in contact with the allergens.
What is an allergy?
The immune system develops anti-bodies against what are completely harmless substances like foods in any allergy.
If a person suffering from an allergy repeatedly eats this food, the immune system develops a defensive response, sometimes with serious reactions immediately like shortness of breath, hives, irritation, swelling of the skin or the mucous membranes, intestinal problems and/or circulation difficulties and even unconsciousness.
What is food intolerance?
Food intolerance comes in all shapes and sizes and may occur when people consume food additives, lactose or fructose. The immune system does not play a role here. The normal symptoms are stomach/intestinal problems or symptoms on a person’s skin.
Which allergens are marked and how?
Die 14 häufigsten Allergene werden, sofern sie als Zutat im jeweiligen Lebensmittel eingesetzt werden, mit Buchstaben-Kürzeln gekennzeichnet. Die bereits deklarationspflichtigen Zusatzstoffe sind mit Ziffern versehen.
- Gl – Cereals containing gluten
- Nu – Nuts
- Ei – Eggs
- Er – Peanuts
- So – Soya
- Sn – Mustard
- Kr – Crustaceans and shellfish
- Fi – Fish
- ML – Milk/lactose
- Se – Celery
- Sf – Sulphur dioxide and sulphites
- Sa – Sesame
- Lu – Lupins
- We – Molluscs
Which additives are labelled and how?
While the allergens are labelled with abbreviations involving letters, the additives needing to be labelled are marked by numbers.
- (1) Contains colourings
- (2) Contains preservatives
- (3) Contains nitrite curing salt
- (4) Contains antioxidants
- (5) Contains flavour enhancers
- (6) Sulphured
- (7) Blackened
- (8) Waxed
- (9) Contains sweeteners
- (10) Contains a source of phenylalanine
- (11) Contains phosphates
Are possible traces of allergens marked in foods too?
According to the Food Information for Consumers Regulation, the 14 allergens needing to be labelled only have to be named if they are added to a food directly as an additive in line with the recipe. Any traces, i.e. unintentional contamination of a food with the named allergens, are not labelled, however.
Are other elements and additives marked?
If a dish contains alcohol, is vegetarian or vegan or has been prepared with food from certified organic farms, this is also indicated on monitors and/or on notices at the serving points every day.
How does the Studierendenwerk guarantee the markings?
All the products reaching the refectory via the purchasing department or incoming goods, have to be declared perfect by the producer. This declaration is taken over in internal documentation systems and enables the correct declaration for the food recipes. These recipes are strictly followed during the production of the food.
All the kitchen personnel are also trained to prevent any cross-contamination by adhering to hygiene rules and deliberate organisational procedures in kitchen operations.
Where do our refectory guests find the markings?
Guests visiting our refectories will find the allergen markings on monitors and/or notices at any serving point every day. Files with the relevant information are available in the cafeterias.
If you have any questions or are unclear about things, please contact the responsible refectory manager on the spot.
Do you have any other questions?
Please get in touch with our refectory managers on the spot. Our contact person at the Planning office for university catering is also available to handle any questions.
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