Lupin - The latest allergen to list on your label

Lupin - The latest allergen to list on your label

Posted 31 July 2017
On 25th May 2017, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) added lupin to the list of allergens that food manufacturers must declare on their product labels. This brings the total number of allergens that are required to be declared to 11: added sulphites (concentrations over 10mg/kg); cereals containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt); peanuts; tree nuts; shellfish; fish, milk, eggs, soy, sesame seeds and lupin.

Lupin (like its relatives, soy and peanut) is a legume which has the potential to produce an allergic response in sensitive individuals. Some people who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to Lupin.

In recent years, Lupin has been increasingly used in food products, as it has properties that are highly sought after – high protein (30-40%) and dietary fibre (30%) content, low in fat (4%) and gluten free. 

These properties have led to an expansion in the number and types of products that use Lupin as an ingredient or that use additives/processing aids containing Lupin derivatives, including: baked goods (bread, pastries, pies); pasta or noodles; sauces; beverages; meat based products (burgers and sausages); health snacks and meal replacements. 
“Gluten free” foods may contain Lupin as a substitute. The potential uses and availability of lupin has led to a growth in demand for healthy products containing lupin as an ingredient. It is this trend that has triggered the action by FSANZ.

Whilst around 96% of global lupin production is used in the animal feed industry, Europe in particular has a long history of lupin being used in food products and it is expected that Australia will also see an increased number and uses of the ingredient – in particular in the health foods category.

Manufacturers need to ensure that they are fully aware of their obligations under Standard 1.2.3: Information requirements – warning statements, advisory statements and declarations of the ANZ Food Standards Code, which covers the declaration of allergens.

The consequences of failing to declare an allergen in a food product can be very costly, with recalls often running into the millions of dollars – even without the damaged reputation and loss of consumer confidence.

Undeclared allergens are the biggest cause of food product recalls in Australia, as the table below from the FSANZ website graphically demonstrates:

  '07  '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17
Undeclared allergen 9 10 17 13 24 17 16 27 39 33 205
Microbial contamination 21 15 28 14 13 25 12 26 13 20 187
Foreign matter 14 15 7 10 18 12 7 14 8 7 112
Biotoxin 0 2 1 2 4 1 2 3 15 6 36
Chemical/contaminant 3 4 1 10 5 1 0 1 0 1 26
Other 0 3 0 3 2 2 3 5 4 3 25
Labelling 4 2 1 1 1 2 2 0 2 2 17
Total 51 51 55 53 67 60 42 76 81 72 608

FSANZ Food recall statistics – accessed online via 11.07.2017

Recalls from undeclared allergens account for over a third of all recalls over the past 10 years and over 43% in the last 3 years.

As supply chains become more complex, these instances are on the increase. Ensuring that you regularly test your raw materials for the presence of allergens, maintaining robust facility processes for keeping allergens out of the production run for specific products and ensuring that you have good control over your supply chain are vital if you wish to avoid the cost of a product recall due to the presence of an undeclared allergen.

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