Allergens: The importance of having a good quality control and labeling

Did you know than more than 30% of the Spanish are lactose intolerant? And that a 2% gluten intolerant? Controlling allergens gets more important in the industry.

What incidence do you thinl allergies and intolerance to certain foods in Spain have? According to a study (by the Spanish Digestive Patology Society (SEPD) and the Spanish Society of GP´s (SEMG), about between 30% and 50% of the Spanish population is lactose intolerant. The celiac disease, on its behalf, affects to 2% of the Spanish, although it is estimated that 80% of the cases are yet to be diagnosed.

Apart from the allergies mentioned above, there are a great number of allergens in our gastronomy: seafood, soja, nuts…the list is endless. Fortunately, regulation requires the information of the composition of foods, whether sold packaged or not. Most of them comply the regulation, but not always with guaranties.

The importance of having a good quality control and labeling

Manufacturers must report with their labelling the presence of any of the 15 existing allergens. That´s something that has progressed in the last years and, although it is true that more emphasis is placed on the absence of certain allergens than in the presence of them, just for commercial reasons, practically all the products inform about all the allergens and about the possibility of cross-contamination.

Non-packaged food

On the other hand, if there is still some way to go referring packaged food, the situation is even more complex in the case of non-packaged food sale. Regulation requires to inform about the presence of any allergen, either through labelling, signs or verbal communication at the moment of the sale. Nevertheless, a study carried out by the OCU revealed that, although a 97% verbally informed about the presence of allergens at the sale moment when selling bulk products, only the 26% collates the information with the label. Despite the damage that could cause to the final consumer.

Regarding cross-contamination in the case of these products, it is infinitely more complex. Just 20% of the establishments have the necessary measures to avoid it, placing the product in most cases, in the same counter than the rest, without any kind of barrier. At Taberner, we are fully aware of the importance of this issue. That is why we are extremely careful with the control and manipulation of the raw materials with allergens, from the reception point where they are identified, to the manipulation at the weighing point with tools with different colours. It is fundamental that there are not even traces in our products. To offer healthy and harmless products for the final consumer is our main goal and it is part of our quality politics.

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