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Question
Posted by: odette | 2012/04/17

Food labeling article

I have just had an incident with Cadbury chocolate over the easter weekend with regard to allergens. I have a daughter who is allergic to egg and if she ever gets chocolate, it is cadbury''s as she has never reacted to it. I always check the allergen list for egg and when I don''t find it, I presume that all is ok.
I gave her a small egg with chocolate mousse filling and checked the allergen label before giving it to her. 10 minutes later, she went bright red, itchy and puffy. I then scrolled through the myriad of ingredients and lo and behold there was egg albumen. Not under allergens, but hidden in the list.
When I approached Cadbury''s about this, they claim their label is perfectly legal, so I am rather confused as I understood from your article on this website that they are required by law to put all Allergen''s under that label? Can you assist with this?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Odette
I hear what you are saying because I also have to scrutinise all food and beverage labels for the allergens I react to. Now regarding the labelling of allergens, the new SA labelling regulations state that "egg" is a common allergen and the presence of egg or ingredients derived from foodstuffs classed as common allergens must be indicated on the label as follows:
a) in parenthesis after the name of such ingredient in the list of ingredients, if it is NOT self evident from the name of the ingredient, and/or
b) in close proximity to the ingredient list in a block with the words 'Contains: (allergen(s))’.
So I presume that the manufacturer of the chocolate egg is of the opinion that listing the words "egg albumen" in the list of ingredients falls under point (a) and that because they have listed EGG albumen this indicates the presence of the allergen. They do not have to put (allergen) in parenthesis after the words 'egg albumen' and they also do not need to provide a block listing all the allergens in the product as described under (b). So in this case, the label is legal and the onus is on us to check the list of ingredients carefully (I have resorted to using a magnifying glass because the print is often so tiny) to ensure that we don't ingest an allergen by mistake. Those companies that do provide the block listing all the allergens are my favourites - it saves me so much time and detective work.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2012/04/17

Dear Odette
I hear what you are saying because I also have to scrutinise all food and beverage labels for the allergens I react to. Now regarding the labelling of allergens, the new SA labelling regulations state that "egg" is a common allergen and the presence of egg or ingredients derived from foodstuffs classed as common allergens must be indicated on the label as follows:
a) in parenthesis after the name of such ingredient in the list of ingredients, if it is NOT self evident from the name of the ingredient, and/or
b) in close proximity to the ingredient list in a block with the words 'Contains: (allergen(s))’.
So I presume that the manufacturer of the chocolate egg is of the opinion that listing the words "egg albumen" in the list of ingredients falls under point (a) and that because they have listed EGG albumen this indicates the presence of the allergen. They do not have to put (allergen) in parenthesis after the words 'egg albumen' and they also do not need to provide a block listing all the allergens in the product as described under (b). So in this case, the label is legal and the onus is on us to check the list of ingredients carefully (I have resorted to using a magnifying glass because the print is often so tiny) to ensure that we don't ingest an allergen by mistake. Those companies that do provide the block listing all the allergens are my favourites - it saves me so much time and detective work.
Best regards
DietDoc

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