'Free from' or 'may contain traces' on food labels

If you want to say your food or drink is 'free from' an allergen (gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free) or 'may contain traces of' an allergen, you must follow the rules on declaring allergens.

Examples of statements

Some food and drink labels say the product is 'free' of an allergen or may contain traces of an allergen. For example:

  • soy free
  • egg free
  • nut free
  • dairy free
  • gluten free
  • may contain traces of nuts
  • may contain traces of dairy
  • prepared in a factory with nuts
  • has been stored with soy products.

Allergen-free statements

These are not required by law. There are no set words.

If you want to claim your product is 'free from' an allergen (or similar words, such as 'contains no nuts'), you must make sure it is true and not misleading. You must be able to prove allergen-free statements.

Extra rules for gluten-free statements on labels

Gluten-free means the food has: 

  • no detectable gluten
  • no oats or oat products, or
  • no cereals containing gluten that have been malted, or products of such cereals.

'Gluten free' is a nutrition content claim. The extra rules on nutrition content claims apply to gluten-free products.

Nutrition content claims: these rules apply to gluten-free products

May contain traces

Saying your food 'may contain traces of' an allergen on a food label may not meet the labelling rules on declaring allergens. You must know what allergens are in your food, and declare them on your label.

Allergen declarations, warning, and advisory statements

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