Compound ingredient

An ingredient that is itself the product of more than one ingredient.
(Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011)


The unintentional presence of another substance in the final product. In the context of allergens, it usually refers to trace amounts of allergenic foods which, whilst not of themselves unwholesome, may be problematic for those suffering from particular allergies.
(FSA Guidance on Allergen Management, 2006)

EU regulated allergens

The 14 substances listed in Annex II of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 (as amended by Commission Delegated Regulation No 78/2014) recognised across Europe as the most common ingredients or processing aids causing food allergies and intolerances:

  1. Cereals containing gluten namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats and their hybridised strains and products thereof, except:
    1. wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
    2. wheat based maltodextrins
    3. glucose syrups based on barley
    4. cereals used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
  2. Crustaceans and products thereof
  3. Egg and products thereof
  4. Fish and products thereof, except:
    1. fish gelatine used as carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations
    2. fish gelatine or Isinglass used as a fining agent in beer and wine
  5. Peanuts and products thereof
  6. Soybeans and products thereof, except:
    1. fully refined soybean oil and fat
    2. natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alphatocopherols, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate and natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources
    3. vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources
    4. plant stanol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soybean sources
  7. Milk and products thereof (including lactose), except:
    1. whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
    2. lactitol
  8. Nuts (namely almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut and Macadamia nut (Queensland nut)) and products thereof, except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
  9. Celery and products thereof
  10. Mustard and products thereof
  11. Sesame seeds and products thereof
  12. Sulphur dioxide and/ or sulphites at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre in terms of the total SO2 which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers
  13. Lupin and products thereof
  14. Molluscs and products thereof

Food allergen

This is the substance in a food that can cause an allergic reaction. Allergens are normally proteins and in some people, the immune system thinks allergens are foreign or dangerous. The immune response to these allergenic proteins is what leads to allergic reactions. The EU states 14 specific foods which are of public health importance (most potent and prevalent food allergens in Europe) which are listed in Annex II to the EU FIC.
(FSA Allergens Technical Guidance, 2015)

Food allergy

An adverse reaction to a food that involves the immune system and can be a potentially life threatening condition. Symptoms can appear within minutes, or up to several hours after a person has eaten a food they are allergic to. There is no cure for food allergy. An allergic individual must avoid the food which makes them ill.
(FSA Allergens Technical Guidance, 2015)

Food intolerance

Most food intolerances do not involve the immune system and are generally not life-threatening. However, they can make someone feel very ill or affect their long-term health. Examples of food intolerance include lactose and gluten intolerance.
(FSA Allergens Technical Guidance, 2015)

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Last reviewed: 12 Nov 2015