The US government is planning to place labels on bottles of wine warning consumers of possible food allergens from eggs, wheat and fish.

The Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer protection Act says that all major food allergens should be labelled in ‘plain, common language’ on any food and drink products that may contain them.

The government has proposed that wheat used in the production of wine barrels, egg products used for wine fining, and fish gelatine, or isinglass, used for wine clarification, be labelled on wine bottles.

The current draft legislation is largely based on claims by people who say they suffer from allergens used in making wine.

Wendell Lee, general counsel for the Wine Institute, a major wine lobby in the US, told decanter.com the draft places ‘an extremely high scientific burden’ on the industry.

‘None of the tests now in use are recognized by chemists as being standard,’ he said.

The eight major food allergens are milk, eggs, tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans and walnuts), peanuts, soybeans, fish, shell fish and wheat.

The European Union also foresees mandatory labelling of food allergens, but its regulations grant at least provisional labelling exemptions for certain cases, including egg-based products and fish gelatine for wine fining and clarification.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos