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Allergen Labelling at Real Foods

Author: kim

Allergen Labelling

The legislation for allergen labelling requires that the presence of  any of the 14 major allergens is clearly displayed on the ingredients section of the packaging. Often this is in bold or CAPITALS. The allergens are - cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, eggs, fish, peanuts, nuts, soybeans, milk, celery, mustard, sesame, lupin and sulphur dioxide at levels above 10mg/kg, or 10 mg/litre, expressed as SO2.

These allergens must be displayed on the product. Whilst we try to keep information as up-to-date as possible, suppliers and manufacturers do change their sourcing and recipes on occasion and don't always tell us! Please double-check the ingredients listings on the ACTUAL product when you receive it, if you feel it is not suitable or that warnings or ingredients have changed, please let us know immediately.

Our own brand is packed under strict rules and with cross-contamination procedures in place however we cannot guarantee that it will not be exposed to allergens in the packaging or transport of the goods. We can source many items in bulk (i.e. sacks or boxes) that do not having have potential for cross-contamination - please email us if you need to enquire. However we cannot guarantee that any of the packdowns (e.g. 500 grams) will not have been exposed to any of the allergens (except for fish, crustaceans and molluscs as we're entirely vegetarian for wholefoods).

Gluten Free labelling

(Commission Regulation (EC) No. 41/2009) that set levels of gluten for foods claiming to be either 'gluten-free' or 'very low gluten', which came into force in January 2012.

Gluten Free

'gluten-free': at 20 parts per million of gluten or less (what we would call certified gluten-free)

'very low gluten': at 100 parts per million of gluten or less - however, only foods with cereal ingredients that have been specially processed to remove the gluten may make a 'very low gluten' claim – very few manufacturers are using it. In fact the only ones we've found so far in our product list are Oatly - they are certified to between 20ppm and 100ppm, considering we have over 10 000 products and we've only found 6 that use it, it's not a large category! 

Why can't I buy Gluten Free beans?

Sadly, the vast majority of brans, pulses and grains supplied in the UK have cross contamination warnings in the 'packing, processing or transportation' section of their specifications. This could be because the produce is stored adjacent to wheat storage facilities, or travels in the same van for delivery. Our own packdowns are produced with strict procedures, but we CANNOT guarantee that they are free from gluten, they are packed in a separate area on a different day from gluten containing products but they are stored in the same building as our flours, cereals etc. These products are entirely suitable for people avoiding gluten, but they are often NOT suitable for coeliacs or people with allergies or high levels of intolerance. Many people are happy with No Gluten Containing Ingredient products if they can be easily cleaned (for example beans) but cannot run the risk of non-cleanable items (like flour).

We try to give as much information on the individual products allergen warnings, however we do switch suppliers, and our suppliers also on occasion switch their own sourcing, so if you are concerned about the allergen warnings, please email us for the latest product specification. We can sell products in their bulk form (e.g. a 10 or 20 kilo sack), which the product specification can confirm has no cross-contamination warnings and so is suitable for coeliacs. However, our bulk products are also packdowns, and Real Foods must alert that we have a risk of cross-contamination in the production of our packdowns. Basically they're packed in the same facility and whilst we've got strict procedures, we do not batch test and cannot guarantee the gluten levels.

I need more information about the gluten content - where do I find it?

We try to keep the information as up-to-date as possible, so first try the product page. If it is a branded product, you can find out more information from the manufacturer or brand. If you're having trouble finding them or would like the information displayed on our product page - ask us!

Email and we'll try to get the information to you and online.

If the product is one of our packdowns or sacks we can find out more information from the product specification, this can take a while to track down as it depends on our suppliers (and their suppliers' supplier sometimes!) but we usually get them within a day or two of the request. Some products have multiple suppliers so if you have specific requirements let us know and we'll do our best.