Allergens, coming to a food label near you

I think it’s pretty safe to presume that out of everyone in the office, I am probably the one with the most allergies. Ranging from latex, to dairy products, to fish, to lobster, to pollen, dust, animal fur, nuts, pineapples, mangoes, shellfish, grapes, Christmas tinsel, fungus spores, aubergines, kiwis – need I go on?

Thankfully, the majority of the things I’m allergic are not to a deathly level, because I might very well have to live in a protective bubble otherwise. I can tolerate them as long as I only have small doses of it – which is great because the vast majority of the things I’m not supposed to have, I LOVE (yes, caps lock, italic, underlined, and bold) Dear help anybody who try to get between me and a dish of mangoes.

So it was that it’s rather appropriate that a new office project landed in my hands: to compile a list of allergen information on all the products we stock! We don’t manufacturer or label any food products here ourselves, but we do buy packaged products in from other suppliers & so are still dealing with their foods. Compiling the allergens list means that if any of our customers or recipients phone/email to ask about potential allergens we will have the information on every product at our finger tips.

Did you know that, by Food Standards Regulations, there are 14 major food allergens which need to be mentioned on all food item labelling? They are:

Out of the list, I honestly had no idea what Lupin and Sulphur Dioxide was, so I had to do a bit on online snooping to make sure I was ticking the right boxes on the allergens list. Turns out Lupin is a flower and could sometimes be found in flour as an alternative to wheat. And Sulphur Dioxide is often an ingredient found in dried apricots, raisins and prunes.

Only our Dried Apricots contain Sulphites, everything else in Chocolate Enrobed Sun-dried Fruit range is Sulphite-free!

It was actually rather fun. I get to go out into the warehouse, walk around the shelves and stick everything into a basket before bringing them back in. It was a little bit like shopping! I would then sit at my desk and scrutinise each food label for allergen information and the detailed ingredients, before listing each allergen in the product onto my spreadsheet. Then I bring all the food items back, put them away and bring in a new batch.

Allergens List - Work in Progress
Allergens List – Work in Progress

I knew we stock a lot of scrumptious products, but I don’t think I realised exactly how much until I started on this project. I could practically feel my mouth watering as I examined some of the items up close. To this day, I still have no idea how I managed to work through all the chocolate products without innocently asking for permission to taste-test a few of them…. Okay, maybe more than a few… Or maybe a little more than that… definitely within my dairy-products allergy quota, I promise!

What about you? Do you have any major allergies?

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