New Rules for Allergen Labelling NZ
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) introduced new rules for labelling allergens. These new Plain English Allergen Labelling (PEAL) rules comes into force on 25 Feb 2024.
The PEAL rules are intended to make it easier for consumers (and people with a food allergy/intolerance) to identify what allergens are in food and to help them make safe choices.
Basic Summary of the PEAL food labelling rules:
- Allergens are to be listed in bold
- Use the required allergen names.
- The contains statement is mandatory.
- Individual nut names to be used (of the 9 specified tree nuts).
- Use ‘fish”, “mollusc” or “crustacea” as appropriate.
- List “wheat” as a separate allergen to “gluten”.
This blog article is intended to provide a basic overview of the new food labelling rules.
If printing your own food labels, then this article will also provide options on how to achieve this using the labelling software by BarTender.
Summary of the New PEAL Rules
Allergens that need to be declared
The food allergens that need to be declared include Egg, Peanuts, Milk, Soy, Sesame, Gluten (barley, oats, rye, wheat), Lupin, Wheat, Fish, Crustacea, Molluscs, Sulphites, Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamias, Pecans, Pine nuts, Pistachios, Walnuts.
In addition to these there are other allergens that have special rules for how to declare them.
Where do you declare allergens?
Where you declare your allergens depends on what type of label your product is required to have:
- Products that need a label but no ingredients list.
- Products not requiring a label .
- Products with a label and an ingredients list.
In the context of adhesive label printing, a food label refers to a label that is affixed to a food product or packaging that provides information about the food product's... More that need an ingredients list must have allergens declared within the ingredients list and in a contains statement. There are specific wording and formatting requirements for both the ingredients and the contains statement. One of these being the need to bold the part of the ingredient that mentions the allergen.
When printing your own labels, one of the most challenging formatting requirements to achieve is bolding of the allergens within the ingredients list. Luckily, BarTender Labelling Software has as few solutions – see further down this article.
- General terms like “shellfish” or “seafood” can no longer be used.
- The term “Tree nuts” or “nuts” can also no longer be used. The specific nut needs to be declared.
- The specific type of cereal used needs to be declared and bolded.
- “Milk” needs to be used to describe the allergen present, instead of “Dairy”.
There are extra requirements in addition to those mentioned above. Please ensure you refer to the appropriate guidance and/or seek guidance from a food labelling consultant.
Here are some useful links to help:
How to Bold Allergens on a Food Label using BarTender Label Software
BarTender Labelling Software by Seagull Scientific makes it easy to create food labels.
Printing can be done from a user-friendly interface with label information being extracted from a food database.
An adhesive Label is consists of four layers: topcoat, facestock, adhesive, and liner that is cut into desired shapes More Software options that specifically cater for Food labelling:
- Create NIP panels designed in a neat table layout, with the ability to transform data, add prefixes & suffixes.
- Bold Allergens in Ingredients lists. Either manually for a product label, using HTML or by referencing an external allergen database.
- Intelligent templates enable objects to only print under specific circumstances.
3 methods to bold text in an ingredients list:
- Automatically using a database containing Allergens.
- Using HTML or RTF formatting which is sourced from the label database.
- Individually using in-built Word Processor.
Bold Allergens in Ingredients Labels, using an Allergens Database
This method uses VB script to check if an allergen from the ‘Allergens’ database exists in the ingredient list. If it does exist, then it applies the formatting rules to that word.
In some instances, you may not want a word to be bolded (e.g., condensed milk). So condensed milk is added to the ‘Exceptions’ database, the script then will ignore that specific term.
Detailed instructions on how to achieve this can be found in this white paper on Printing Food Allergen Labels by Seagull Scientific.
Bold Allergens, with formatting sourced from a Database field
This method requires the ingredients to be pre-formatted in HTML/RTF/XAML. The ingredients label object is a Markup Language Container which then sources the data + formatting from the database. For those who aren’t great at programming languages you can use one of the many free online tools to convert your text into HTML like this Word to HTML tool.
Bold Allergens, using the built-in Word Processor
Text and formatting can be copied and pasted from external document, such as Word or directly from Food Labelling Software.
This method does not link to a label database, so is not recommended if you have large volumes of products. As the label data will not dynamically update and you will need to create a label template for each product.
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