Characteristics of allergen labelling and precautionary allergen labelling in packaged food products available in Latin America

Noé Ontiveros, Jesús Aristeo López Gallardo, Jesús Gilberto Arámburo-Gálvez, Carlos Eduardo Beltrán-Cárdenas, Oscar Gerardo Figueroa-Salcido, José Antonio Mora-Melgem, Diana María Granda-Restrepo, Cecilia Ivonne Rodríguez-Bellegarrigue, Marcela de Jesús Vergara-Jiménez, Feliznando Isidro Cárdenas-Torres, Martina Hilda Gracia-Valenzuela*, Francisco Cabrera-Chávez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The characteristics of food allergen labelling are relevant for avoiding accidental exposure to the allergens of interest but no Latin American country has evaluated these characteristics. Our aim was to evaluate the characteristics of food allergen labelling and precautionary allergen labelling (PAL) in six Latin American countries. All data were collected directly from the supermarkets surveyed. A total of 10,254 packaged food products were analyzed, of which 63.3% (n = 6494) and 33.2% (n = 3405) featured allergen labelling and/or PAL, respectively. Most products complied with local regulations (≥87.4% for both locally produced and imported). Thirty-three types of PAL statements were detected; the most frequent was “may contain traces of … ” (35.1%). Countries without regulations on the characteristics of allergen labelling had two-fold more products that contained allergens in their ingredients lists but no food allergen labelling. The use of PAL in countries that regulate it (38.2%) was as high as that in countries without PAL regulations (19.2%–44.7%). The findings suggest that the lack of regulations for the characteristics of allergen labeling increases the risk of accidental exposure to allergens of interest. Our findings also suggest that beyond regulations, a scientific approach is required for minimizing and standardizing the use of PAL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2698
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Allergen labelling
  • Latin America
  • Packaged food products


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