Good to know: What does the statement "May contain traces of..." actually mean?

If you look around the supermarket these days and take a close look at the back labels of food, you will quickly come across the notice "May contain traces of wheat, soy, mustard, milk, nuts .

Good to know: What does the statement "May contain traces of..." actually mean?

If you look around the supermarket these days and take a close look at the back labels of food, you will quickly come across the notice "May contain traces of wheat, soy, mustard, milk, nuts ... etc.". This information indicates that a product may contain allergenic ingredients. So like soy, mustard, milk or wheat. An easy one for those who suffer from an allergy or food intolerance. Unfortunately it's not that easy.

The note on the back label does not refer to ingredients that are regularly included, as Silke Noll, nutrition expert at the Bavarian Consumer Advice Centre, knows: "Contamination with allergens can occur if other foods are produced on the same systems". Incidentally, this can also happen via the air or personnel, who can transmit traces.

One might think that it is a good thing that manufacturers are careful to mention these components. Especially if you suffer from a food intolerance or even worse from an allergy. But the problem is that many producers over-declare their products.

This means that manufacturers protect themselves against liability claims and simply list numerous allergens in general. The choice of food is unnecessarily restricted for allergy sufferers. Conversely, if there is no such indication on the back label, this does not mean that they are free of unwanted traces. Unfortunately, this is of little help to allergy sufferers or those who are struggling with an intolerance.

Ultimately, there is only one option: trust the manufacturer's information or buy as little processed food as possible. For example, anyone who buys fresh fruit and vegetables and loose cereals can at least better check that they are not picking up any allergens.

Source: Consumer Center Bavaria

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