Allergen labelling of non-prepacked (loose) foods in Germany

(Note: For reasons of simplicity, all substances or products that cause allergies or intolerances listed in Appendix II of the Food Information Regulation are simply referred to as "allergenic" substances or "allergens".)

The food information implementation ordinance

On July 13th 2017, an implementing ordinance aiming to bring national legislation into line with the Food Information Regualtion came into effect in Germany. This implementation ordinance essentially stipulates the following on the labelling of non-prepacked foods.

Mandatory labelling of allergenic ingredients or processing aids

Information on allergenic ingredients or processing aids is obligatory on foods that are a) not packaged, b) packaged on the spot on request of the end consumer or food business operator c) pre-packed for direct sale and not offered for self-service when sold to the end consumer or food business operator.

Information on allergens contained or used in the food must be provided on a label on or near the food or, in the case of food business operators, on the menu or list of beverages or on the price list prior to selling and prior to providing the food; in the second case easily understandable footnotes are permitted, provided the stated food is provided with clear reference to the footnote.

Instead of a label, it is also possible to inform about allergens on a notice in the shop. If clearly indicated, the information may also be provided in other written form or electronically. Consumers must easily be able to access this information at the latest when the food is supplied to them.

Verbal information on allergenic ingredients and processing aids

Allergen information can also be given verbally. The prerequisite for this is, besides trained staff, that the possibility of obtaining verbal information on allergens is clearly indicated and that the information is provided on request prior to selling and prior to providing the food to the consumer. In addition, food suppliers are obliged to keep written records about allergens used in the production or preparation of food for the event of food inspections from the relevant authorities, or inquiries made by consumers. These must be accessible to the consumer on request.

The regulations stated also apply to the selling of wine products by the glass.