A query on the definition of latex and the allergen risk associated with it.
A customer asked if the rubber dropper bulb we use as a packaging component was latex free or not. We've been using the same component from the same supplier for the same customer for many years, so I thought the answer was fairly simple - the rubber used in the bulb is from a natural source (described as 'caoutchouc' in the supplier specification) so cannot be described as latex-free?
However, as the on-file specification is a few years old I referred it to Purchasing to ask the supplier for the most up-to-date info. The supplier stated (to my surprise) that it was not made from latex, but rather 'dry natural rubber', the processing of these two materials being different.
My question is, while I accept that the materials might be different, if we are talking about allergens and label claims (a) is there a real difference between these two materials, and (b) is dry natural rubber considered 'latex-free'?
Our customer is based in the EU, but has a significant export presence.