food allergen database - levensmiddelendatabank .food allergen database guideline for completing
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FOOD ALLERGEN DATABASE
Guideline for completing allergen data for brand lists
(Version 1.0 2009) LEVENSMIDDELENDATABANK P.O. Box 85700 2508 CK Den Haag Tel. +31 70 3068 845 e-mail Levensmiddelendatabank@voedingscentrum.nl www.levensmiddelendatabank.nl
Complete or partial reproduction of this guideline is only permitted after prior permission in writing has been received from the director of the Nutrition Centre. Although every care has been invested in the composition of this publication, the Stichting Voedingscentrum Nederland (Netherlands Nutrition Centre ) accepts no liability whatsoever for damage arising from any incorrect information contained in this publication.
Food Database The Food database collects and administers data on food that contains ingredients that can cause food allergy or hypersensitivity. The data are supplied by food manufacturers and suppliers and are updated on an ongoing basis. The data are used to draw up proprietary brand lists. These lists contain a catalogue of products that do not contain the substances that cause the food allergy or hypersensitivity to the consumer. The proprietary brand lists are supplied by the Nutrition Centre to consumers, dieticians and allergologists . In order to ensure that the information is as unambiguous and reliable as possible, it is important this guideline is used when entering data in the Food Database. We suggest that your supplier should also use this guideline for entering allergens.
Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Providing product information 3. Providing allergen information 4. Substance definitions 5. Questionnaire
1. Introduction Why is a Food database important? Consumers who suffer from food allergies or non-allergic food hypersensitivity need more information than is given on product labels. The brand lists in the Food allergen database meet this requirement. The Food database
provides information concerning the absence of allergens in foodstuffs, so consumers know what they can eat;
draws up lists of proprietary brands that are free from allergens (and their combinations); presents the data in a user friendly way; can anticipate current questions quickly; provides information about a slightly larger group of substances that can cause food hypersensitivity
than is provided for in the labelling legislation. What is important for you as a supplier? For you as a supplier providing the correct information is often quite a job. However, participation in the Food database will offer you the following advantages:
when appearing on the list, consumers with food hypersensitivity are more likely to choose your products;
you can check the status of the products that you have provided on the Food databases website whenever you like;
the data that you provided will be additionally checked and administered by experts; you make a sensible selection of allergens. Criteria for the inclusion of allergens The Food database uses three criteria concerning the inclusion of substances that can cause allergy or hypersensitivity: 1. the legal provisions for listing allergens; 2. questions from patients and practitioners for information about a specific substance; 3. scientific evidence that there is a relationship with food allergy or hypersensitivity. Consequently, The data in the Food database differ from labelling legislation. The biggest difference is that current legislation uses a list containing the most common 14 allergens, while the Food database includes data on 24 substances. This larger number originates from the larger number of substances to which hypersensitive reactions are known but that havent, as yet, been incorporated in the legislation (e.g. maize). ____________________________________________ The way in which the 14 major food allergens ingredients have to be mentioned on the food label in the declaration of ingredients is explained on the website: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/foodlabelling/guidelines.pdf
2. Providing product information It is important for both you and consumers that your product is easy to find in the list. You should, therefore, choose the products name and brand that consumers will recognize in the shops. Please, only include a simple brand name under brand name and not your own company name as well. Consumers can easily find your companys name via the reference structure in the address list.
Product Brand Chocolate Sprinkle, pure sprinkle goods Hundreds and Thousands
The products in the list are classified under product group codes in order to get similar products adjacent to one another in the list. You can choose from a list containing 41 different product groups. Each product can only be classified once. If you have any doubts you can consult a list of examples or contact the experts at the databank. Product group codes 01 Bread and breakfast products 02 Cheese 03 Milk, milk products (including ice cream), milk substitutes 04 Fruit and vegetables, fresh 05 Preserved vegetables and potatoes 06 Fruit preserves 07 Legumes 08 Meat, meat products, game and poultry 09 Fish, crustaceans and shellfish 10 Margarine, fats, oils, mayonnaise etc. 11 Soups and stocks 12 Sauces, flavourings and gravy 13 Meal, meal products, grains and pasta 14 Pudding powders 15 Ready-to-eat products, salads and snacks 16 Sweet sandwich fillings, sugar and sweet sauces 17 Other sandwich fillings 18 Alcoholic drinks 19 Non-alcoholic drinks and lemonades 20 Sweets and confectionery
21 Chocolate 22 Savoury snacks 23 Pastries, cakes including spiced cakes 24 Herbs, spices and other seasoning 25 Other food and drink products 26 Baby food and childrens food 27 Meat replacement products 28 Dietary products, low sodium (salt) 29 Dietary products, sugar free 30 Dietary products, gluten free 31 Dietary products, lactose free 32 Dietary products, other 33 Sandwich fillings, foodservice 34 Margarine, fats, oils, mayonnaise etc., foodservice 35 Soups and stocks, foodservice 36 Savoury sauces, flavourings and gravy, foodservice 37 Sweet sauces and fruit products, foodservice 38 Pudding powders, foodservice 39 Ready-to-eat products, foodservice 40 Ice cream and pastries, foodservice 41 Other, foodservice
Sometimes a package unit will contain different products. It is possible to enter the name that is used for the article in the shops first, with a component in brackets. This creates multiple entries for one article.
Product Brand mix package (component 1.) Basis mix package (component 2.) Basis
If all data providers enter the information in this way, related products will be next to each other and consumers can quickly see if the shop they are visiting has a brand that can be used.
3. Providing allergen information In order to make useful allergen information it is important that the data for the proprietary brand lists are complete and accurate. This chapter describes the best way of providing the data. You can enter and change data, whenever you want, throughout the year. This new feature of the Food databank will keep all data up to date. Thanks to this new feature, the proprietary brand lists for consumers are made on demand since 2009. When does a food ingredient cause hypersensitive reactions? It is well-known that substances that cause hypersensitive or allergic reactions can have a very low threshold value. This means that small quantities of the substance can cause reactions. It hasnt been possible to establish a threshold value for most of these substances up to now (EFSA, RIVM). The only exception to this is sulphite (max. 10 mg/kg). In addition, we would like to stress that when including a gluten free product in the Food Database, this product has to be absolutely free of gluten. The threshold values given in the Codex Alimentarius do not apply to the Food Database. The allergenicity of a protein can be determined with the amino acid sequence or its three dimensional structure. This is why it cannot be generally supposed that the allergenicity of proteins is reduced by processing factors. A lot of allergens still cause reactions in patients even after they have been heated, partially hydrolysed or fermented. When should I use which notation? M / Recipe contains: The product contains the substance listed as an ingredient or the substance is
present in an ingredient according to the method of preparation. The product will not be included in the proprietary brand list concerned.
Z / Recipe without: The product contains none of the substance mentioned according to the method of preparation. The product will be included in the proprietary brand list concerned.
K / May contain: The product may contain the substance mentioned because of cross-contamination (and recipe without) (see below).
The product will be included in the proprietary brand list concerned but will be marked.
O / Unknown: There is insufficient data available concerning the presence of the substance in the product. The product will not be included in the proprietary brand list concerned.
N / Not entered: Nothing has been entered concerning the substance mentioned. This happens automatically if you do not choose one of the four other options. The product will not be included in the proprietary brand list concerned.
Cross-contamination The only allergens that have to be entered in the Food Database are those that are present as an ingredient in the product according to the recipe. Nevertheless, allergens may be present in the product unintentionally due to cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is the unintentiona