When food products contain (or may contain) potential allergens, federal laws in Switzerland require that companies clearly disclose this information on food labels. In comparison, when a company wants to disclose that its products are free from these same allergens, Switzerland has a private certification process overseen by Service Allergie Suisse.
Over time, I’ve noticed this label on several food products we routinely purchase for my son and wanted to know more about it. Here are the questions I had about the Swiss Allergy Label and the answers I found, based on information obtained from the Service Allergie Suisse website and an email I received from this agency in August 2014.
Please note: The information shown below, particularly the number of certified products and the companies that produce them, is meant to provide a snapshot of this program at a particular period of time. For the most current information, you can visit the Service Allergie Suisse website or subscribe to its News Service.
When did the Swiss Allergy Label start?
The Swiss Allergy Label program was started in 2006 by Service Allergie Suisse, a private independent agency based in Bern.
What is the purpose of the Swiss Allergy Label?
The focus of Service Allergie Suisse is on “consumer goods and services that are produced, labeled and sold with particular consideration given to allergy and intolerance problems.”
According to the email I received from Service Allergie Suisse, three independent authorities evaluate every product being considered for this allergen-free certification. For food products in particular, companies must also demonstrate that they have systems in place for quality control and allergen management. Finally, there are regular re-audits to ensure ongoing compliance.
How many products have earned the Swiss Allergy Label?
On January 13, 2015, I found 173 products listed on the Service Allergie Suisse website, as shown below.
Table: Number of products with the Swiss Allergy Label by category
|Product category||Number of products|
|Washing and cleaning agents||8|
|Technical products (e.g., air filters)||3|
Source: Obtained from the Service Allergie Suisse website on January 13, 2015; http://www.service-allergie-suisse.ch/257/product-categories/?oid=1464&lang=en.
Which companies have products with the Swiss Allergy Label?
Currently, the 14 companies listed below have products that have earned the Swiss Allergy Label:
- La Roche-Posay
- Lux International
In terms of food products, the vast majority of these products are sold by Migros. Based on my search, it appears that Coop has fewer than 10 food products from its own “Free From” line that have been certified by Service Allergie Suisse.
What services have been certified with the Swiss Allergy Label?
In addition to certifying products, the Swiss Allergy Label can also be applied to services, including catering and gastronomy. At this time, two companies have been certified for such services: (1) Menu and More for catering and (2) Migros for gastronomy. Menu and More is active in catering meals for children and adolescents, according to the email I received from Service Allergie Suisse. Since October 2014, Migros has expanded it range of certified products, and you can find these products in dozens of its locations (click here for the complete list).
For more information about the requirements for restaurants to receive this certification, please review this summary document from Service Allergie Suisse.
Are you familiar with the Swiss Allergy Label? Do you have products in your home certified under this program? I’m interested in any feedback you may have about this program, so please leave a comment below if you have something to share. Many thanks!
Updated: January 15, 2015