Which allergens should be mentioned on a food product?

Verified 06 November 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Allergens should be listed on prepackaged foods and next to loose, self-service, or pre-cooked foods. Here is the list of ingredients.

This is a substance that triggers or promotes allergy or intolerance.

An allergen can also cause the body's immune system to respond to a contact (touch product), of a inhalation (breathe the product) or swallowing (eat and swallow the product). These allergic reactions may be bass for the health, hence the importance of mentioning their presence, even in small quantities.

Allergens are mainly present in products food. They are also sometimes present in certain cosmetic products (moisturizer, body milk, soap, make-up, etc.), but cases are rarer (example: donkey's milk soap)

Products that contain allergens should be tested compulsory labeling.

This obligation applies only to substances incorporated voluntarily in products.

The obligation to mention allergens applies to all professionals in the manufacturing and sales chain:

  • Producer, distributor
  • Small retail, grocery, supermarket, etc.
  • Restaurant, bar, cafe, bistro, etc.
  • Specialized or general-purpose food trade (butcher, butcher, delicatessen, caterer, baker, chocolate maker, pastry maker, cheese maker, fishmonger, etc.)
  • School canteen, company restaurant

These rules apply in France but also in all European Union (EU) countries.

Please note

Allergen display and labeling requirements do not apply to charity sales, trade fairs, local celebrations and meetings, or soup kitchens.

All ingredients recognized as allergens must be indicated to the consumer before purchase or before consumption.

Here is a list:

Tableau - List of food allergenic ingredients to be reported to the consumer

Allergens to mention

Potentially allergenic substances which are not required to appear on the packaging

Cereals container of gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut or their hybridized strains) and products thereof

  • Wheat glucose syrups, including dextrose
  • Wheat maltodextrins
  • Glucose syrups based on barley
  • Cereals used for the manufacture of distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages.

Crustaceans and crustacean products

Eggs and egg products

Peanuts and groundnut products

Fish and fish products

Fish gelatin used as a carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations or ichthyocoll used as a clarifying agent in beer and wine

Soybean and soya products

  • Fully refined soybean oil and fat
  • Natural mixed tocopherols
  • Phytosterols and phytosterol esters derived from soybean vegetable oils
  • Vegetable stanol ester produced from sterols derived from soybean vegetable oils

Milk and milk products (including lactose)

  • Whey used for the manufacture of distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages
  • Lactitol

Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia, Brazilian, Queensland, pistachios) and products thereof

Nuts used for the manufacture of distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages.

Celery and celery products

Mustard and mustard products

Seeds of sesame and products based on sesame seeds

Sulfur dioxide and sulphites in concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/l

Lupin and lupin products

Molluscs and mollusk products

3 types of sales, 3 ways to inform

3 types of sales lead to different ways of informing the consumer:

  • Products packed (food or cosmetics, fresh or not, regardless of packaging)
    The presence of allergens must be stated written on the packaging.
  • Products in loose : display of fruit and vegetables, cereals and dried fruit in self-service, etc.
    The presence of allergens must be stated written nearby of products in visible by the consumer.
  • Dishes cooked at a caterer, a restaurant, a baker, a deli, a canteen, etc.
    The presence of allergens must be stated written nearby products offered, or in the vicinity of places of consumption, in a visible manner.


Any intermediary such as the delivery person of a restaurant or canteen must give the restaurateur a document listing all allergens present in each food product.

Visible and accurate information

The particulars and labeling must comply with a writing form special: bold, underlined, italic, different font characters from other label entries.

The goal is to easily distinguish these particulars and other particulars appearing on the packaging or label.

The consumer should not have to look for the information or ask for it.


It is not enough to write the word allergens. You have to name precisely the allergens present: eggs, milk, gluten, nuts (nuts, hazelnuts, etc.), mustard, sesame, crustaceans, etc.

Optional labeling specifications (gluten, salt, sugar, fat, etc.)

A great deal of other information may be included on a food product to show its interest in health.

These statements are optional.

The absence or low presence of gluten may be recorded on the food product as follows:

  • "Low gluten content" only if the gluten content does not exceed 100 mg/kg
  • "Gluten-free" only if the gluten content is less than 20 mg/kg

As well as the following formulas:

  • Low salt content
  • Low sugar content
  • Low fat content

The quantities of these substances are not regulated to control this information.

Manufacturers may introduce unintentional allergenic substances in their products.

This accidental incorporation may occur during transport or during residual contact in the manufacturing chain.

He is recommended but non-mandatory to warn the consumer of this possible presence of a small quantity of an allergen.

For this purpose, manufacturers have made a habit of using on the labels precautionary formulas following:

  • "Possible traces of....."
  • "Made in a workshop that uses..."

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