EU Food Allergen Labeling Follow

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Samantha Petro

Overview

As of December 2014, all European nutrition labels must list and identify potential allergens in accordance with EU Regulation N°1169/2011.This regulation helps customers make informed decisions about the ingredients and nutrition of the food and beverages they consume. Food manufacturers, business food operators and distributors must clearly mark and emphasize all allergens in the ingredient list.

For years, BarTender has had the ability to create and design labels that comply with this regulation. Now with your installation of BarTender, Seagull provides an intuitive, easy-to-use label template that helps you meet these food labeling requirements and produce consistent, compliant labels.

  • The BarTender EU Allergen label template is completely configurable and features: Automated emphasis and formatting of allergens in your ingredient list.
  • Configurable list of allergens, allowing easy modification should the regulation be updated or you need to comply with similar geographic regulations.
  • Simple design that allows you to design labels to match your company's marketing and production needs.
  • Support for multiple languages, including English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Seagull Scientific's legendary technical support.

For more information about EU Regulation N°1169/2011 and food labeling requirements, visit the Seagull Scientific EU Food Allergen Labeling (FIC) Regulation page.

 

Creating EU Allergen-Compliant Labels

BarTender's sample document can be downloaded here.

The sample template includes a very simple design for the sole purpose of letting you format and brand your label as you see fit. You can manually replace the sample ingredients with your own, or more likely, retrieve your ingredient list from a database, spreadsheet or ERP system.

allergen_label1.png

Use of the sample BarTender document requires the Professional edition of BarTender or higher.

 

Select Your Language

In order to accurately identify the allergens in your ingredient list, you must specify what language(s) your ingredient list is in. To do so:

  1. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, expand the Named Data Sources node.
  2. Double-click on the named data source entitled "LanguageID". The Named Data Sources dialog opens.
  3. With the "LanguageID" named data source still selected, replace the data with the ISO-639 code that corresponds to one of the six languages supported by the sample document. See Appendix A of this article for more information.
  4. Click Close to close the Named Data Sources dialog and return to your template.

 

Update the Allergen List

BarTender's sample document contains a list of 30 common allergens, as defined by EU Regulation N°1169/2011. This allergen list is intended to be a starting point for the allergens used in your production environment, and is stored in an external text file, Allergens.txt. You can also find a list of allergens in Appendix B in this article.

NOTE: You are fully responsible for maintaining the allergen and exceptions list and complying with the EU Regulation. The allergens (and exceptions) included with this sample document may not comprehensively cover all allergens derived from the categories defined by the EU Regulation. Updates to the installed allergen list should include all variations of the allergens used in your company, including spelling variations (e.g. kamut vs kamult), translated allergen names, plural forms of the allergens (e.g. egg vs eggs) and/or specific types of an allergen (e.g. salmon, herring, mackerel and squid all fall under the category "fish").

 To modify the allergen list:

  1. Locate the file Allergens.txt on your computer and open it in the text editor of your choice. By default, this file is installed in the same directory as the BarTender document.
  2. In the file, find the line containing the language of your choice. Enter your ingredients for your language, separated by commas.
  3. Save the file and close out of the text editor.

Exceptions

Some multi-word ingredients may contain an allergen in their name, but the ingredient itself is not an allergen. Examples include "coconut milk" and "cocoa butter." In these cases, you can define exceptions, so that BarTender will not highlight any part of the ingredient, even if its name includes an allergen.

To add an exception:

  1. Locate the file Exceptions.txt on your computer and open it in the text editor of your choice. By default, this file is installed in the same directory as the BarTender document.
  2. In the file, find the line containing the language of your choice. Enter your exceptions for your language, separated by commas.
  3. Save the file and close out of the text editor

 

Modify the Allergen Formatting

The Food Information to Consumers (FIC) regulation mandates that all allergens be clearly highlighted so that they are easily identified in an ingredient list. Bold text is the preferred highlighting method, but companies may use other methods to highlight the allergen text. Manufacturers may underline, bold, italicize or use a combination of all three.

By default, the sample document bolds the ingredients. If you wish to modify this style, follow these steps:

  1. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, expand the Named Data Sources node. 
  2. Double-click on the named data source entitled "AllergenStyle". The Named Data Sources dialog opens.
  3. With the "AllergenStyle" named data source still selected, enter one of the following accepted formatting inputs:
Bold Italic
BoldItalic ItalicUnderline
BoldUnderline Underline 
BoldItalicUnderline  
Note: these entry values are case sensitive and must match the case above. If an unsupported value is entered, the allergen will default to bold formatting.
  1. Click Close to close the Named Data Sources dialog and return to your template.

 

Enter Ingredient List

There are two ways to enter your ingredients into the sample label: you can either manually input your ingredients or import them from an external data file.

 

Entering Ingredients Manually

By default, the sample label is set up so that you manually enter your ingredients into your document.

  1. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, expand the Named Data Sources node.
  2. Double-click on the named data source entitled "Ingredients". The Named Data Sources dialog opens.
  3. With the "Ingredients" named data source still selected, enter the ingredients in your product, separated by commas.
  4. Click Close to close the Named Data Sources dialog and return to your template.

 

Reading Ingredients from a Database

Preparing Your Database

Once you decide that you'd like to automatically populate your label with data from a data file, you must  first create a data file that is supported.  Our supported database types are listed here in our Help System

At a minimum, your database for this label must contain two fields: Product and Ingredients. The Product field includes the product name, identifier and/or description of the product so that you can easily  differentiate products from each other. The Ingredients field contains a list of all the ingredients in the product, separated by commas.

Note: Included with the sample document is a text file entitled "IngredientList.txt". If you do not already have a database file in place, use this file as a starting point for your own database file using the directions below.

Connecting to Your Database

  1. From the File menu, select Database Connection Setup. The Database Setup Wizard opens.
  2. Work your way through the wizard, specifying the database platform, file location and tables you wish to use. The screens you encounter will vary based on the database platform you are using.
  3. At the end of the wizard, click Finish.
  4. In the left Navigation Pane, click Record Browser to verify that your data was imported correctly.
  5. Click OK to close the Database Setup dialog.

Reading Ingredients from Your Database

  1. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, expand the Named Data Sources node.
  2. Double-click on the named data source entitled "Ingredients". The Named Data Sources dialog opens.
  3. With the "Ingredients" named data source still selected, click the Properties icon properties_icon.png next to Type. The Data Source Wizard opens.
  4. For Type, select Database Field. Click Next.
  5. For Field Name, select Ingredients. Click Finish to close the Data Source Wizard.
  6. Click Close to close the Named Data Sources dialog and return to your template.

 

Configure Your Label

Depending on the size and distribution of your food label, one or more additional pieces of information may need to be added to your label in order to comply with EU Regulation N°1169/2011. For example, you may want to include the name of the food, the quantity of food, the 'use by' date or the business name. Note that this is not a full list of the mandatory information, and you should refer to the regulation for the detailed requirements.

Because this information will vary with every company, the sample label template does not include these pieces of information. You will need to add text objects, images and/or other objects to configure the label to meet your company's needs. These objects can be added anywhere on the label, provided that the ingredient list is clearly visible.

The font, font color and text size for the ingredient list are stored in an HTML object on the template. To change these styles:

  1. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, expand the Named Data Sources node.
  2. Double-click on the named data source entitled "IngredientStyle". The Named Data Sources dialog opens.
  3. Modify the CSS as desired.
  4. Click Close to close the Named Data Sources dialog and return to your template
WARNING: Do not make any changes to the text object containing the ingredient list. This object contains advanced VBScripts that correctly format the EU Food Allergen Labeling 7 allergens. If these values are modified, your label may no longer conform to the specifications detailed in EU Regulation N°1169/2011.

 

Modifying an Existing Document

In some cases, you may already have a BarTender document designed for your product. Even in this case, you can adapt your existing design and copy over parts of the sample document so that it conforms to the specifications detailed in EU Regulation N°1169/2011.

This section walks you through the steps needed to modify an existing BarTender document. Once you have incorporated these steps into your design, you will be able to set a target language, update the allergen and exception lists, and modify the allergen formatting as outlined in the previous section.

 

Prerequisites

The following steps assume that you have these files available for use:

  1. Your own BarTender document, already connected to a database containing an ingredient list.
  2. Download BarTender's sample document, EU allergen list and exceptions list directly here.

 

Implementation

Import Named Data Sources

You will need both the sample document and your current existing document for this step.

  1. Open the sample document.
  2. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, locate the Named Data Sources node.
  3. Right-click on the Named Data Sources node and select Export Named Data Sources.
  4. Enter a file name for your data source list and click Save.

This will save the named data sources from the sample document as an XML file so that they can be used in other documents (such as your existing product label).

  1. Open your existing document.
  2. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, locate the Named Data Sources node.
  3. Right-click on the Named Data Sources node and select Import Named Data Sources.

allergen_label2.png

  1. Browse to the file saved in Step 4, above, and click Open

 

Copy Ingredients Text Box

  1. In your existing design, delete the text object that contains your ingredient list.
  2. From the sample document, copy the text object. This text object makes use of VBScript and a list of allergens in an external database to automatically emphasize the potential allergens in your ingredient list.
  3. Paste this text object into your existing template.

At this point, you no longer need the sample document. You can close it at this time.

 

Create Allergen and Exception Lists

  1. Locate Allergens.txt and Exceptions.txt on your computer. They are located in the same zip folder as the sample documents
  2. Copy both files.
  3. Paste them into the same directory where your existing document resides.

 

Read Ingredients from Your Database

  1. In the Data Sources Toolbox pane, expand the Named Data Sources node.
  2. Double-click on the named data source entitled "Ingredients". The Named Data Sources dialog opens.
  3. With the "Ingredients" named data source still selected, click the Properties icon properties_icon.png next to Type. The Data Source Wizard opens.
  4. For Type, select Database Field. Click Next.
  5. For Field Name, select the field that contains your ingredient list. Click Finish to close the Data Source Wizard.
  6. Click Close to close the Named Data Sources dialog and return to your template

 

Appendix A: Supported Language Table

Language Name Language ID
 Dutch NL
 English EN
 French FR
 German DE
 Italian IT
 Spanish ES

 

Appendix B: Allergen List

The EU Regulation N°1169/2011 has defined several categories of allergen. Any food product in a formulation that appears in the EU's list must be highlighted on the package label's ingredient list.

  • Cereals containing gluten, including wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, and kamut or their hybrids
  • Crustaceans and -derived products
  • Eggs and -derived products
  • Fish and -derived products
  • Peanuts and -derived products
  • Soybeans and -derived products
  • Milk and -derived products
  • Nuts and -derived products, namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia and Queensland nuts
  • Celery and -derived products
  • Mustard and -derived products
  • Sesame seeds and -derived products
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations greater than 10mg/kg or 10mg/liter
  • Lupin and -derived products
  • Molluscs and -derived products

Based on these categories, BarTender's installed allergen list includes the following allergens in six supported languages:

almonds, barley, Brazil nuts, cashews, celery, cream, crustaceans, egg, fish, hazelnuts, kamult, kamut, lupin, macadamia nuts, milk, molluscs, mustard, oats, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, Queensland nuts, rye, sesame seeds, soybeans, spelt, sulphur dioxide, sulphites, tofu, walnuts, wheat

Note: this is not a comprehensive list of all potential allergens. Updates to the installed allergen list should include all variations of the allergens used in your company, including spelling variations (e.g. kamut vs kamult), plural forms of the allergens (e.g. egg vs eggs) and/or specific types of an allergen (e.g. salmon, herring, mackerel and squid all fall under the category "fish").

 

Related Documentation

External Documentation

To learn more, please visit The European Commission website at http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm.

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