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FAQs about food intolerances

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the Free From range and the declaration of allergens. If you cannot find the answer to your question, our Customer Service will be happy to help. We will answer all of your questions about our Free From range.
Basket with slices of bread, bowl of muesli and a lactose-free soft cheese on a tray
When is a product lactose-free?
A product may be labelled "lactose-free" as long as it contains less than 0.1 per cent lactose. Products that are naturally lactose-free, such as mineral water or fruit juice, are not advertised as lactose-free.
How can you see whether an ingredient in a product contains an allergen?
Declarable allergens or ingredients derived from them must always be shown in the list of ingredients. This also applies to composite ingredients such as spice mixes or additives that contain allergens. The allergens present are declared accordingly in the list of ingredients: e.g. "Seasoning (contains celery and wheat)" or "emulsifier (E322 [from soya])".
Is there a difference between products that are advertised as gluten-free and those that do not carry a claim but which do not consist of any ingredients containing gluten or traces of it?
Yes, the difference lies in the limit of permitted traces of gluten. A gluten-free product may not contain more than 20 milligrams of gluten per kilogram of food. All other foods may contain traces of up to 200 milligrams per kilogram of food without traces of gluten having to be declared.
Products that are naturally free from gluten are not advertised as gluten-free.
Above what quantity do traces of gluten have to be declared?
If a product contains or may contain more than 200 mg per kilogram of gluten, the note "May contain traces of gluten" must be included.
Why are some Free From products more expensive than comparable products?
The production of Free From articles is more complex. To ensure safety, special processes, special cleaning processes and sometimes even completely separate production rooms and facilities are required. There are also certification costs and, in some cases, higher raw material prices. Added to this, the production volume is small, which also increases the cost of individual products. Coop tries to pass on as few of these additional costs to the customer as possible and sells the products at fair prices.
Are Free From products only suitable for people with intolerances?
No, Free From products are suitable for all consumers, even those who have no allergies or intolerances.
Above what quantity do traces of declarable allergens have to be declared?
In the event of possible contamination of more than one gram per kilogram of food, the note "May contain traces of ..." must be included for declarable allergens. The limit for sulphur is 10 milligrams per kilogram and for gluten 200 milligrams.
If an allergen is included as an ingredient, this must always be provided in the ingredient text regardless of the amount contained.
What is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?
Allergies and intolerances are different reactions of the body to certain components in food. An allergy is when the body overreacts to an animal or plant-based protein. Currently, around 120 foods have been identified that can cause allergic reactions.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can differ greatly and vary in severity. Typical reactions include itching, redness or swelling of the skin, breathing problems and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea, bloating or vomiting. However, some foods can cause life-threatening reactions.
In contrast to allergies, an intolerance does not involve the immune system. An intolerance is a missing or limited ability to digest or absorb certain substances.