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Is soy lecithin an allergen ?

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:06 AM

hey everyone , 


among our ingredients we have soy lecithin, since lecithin is a phospholipid so it is not considered allergenic right?

but I notice that most producers consider lecithin allergenic i can't undertand why 




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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:23 AM

Soy lecithin contains trace levels of soy proteins and they have been found to include soy allergens.

Soy lecithin apparently does not contain sufficient soy protein residues to provoke allergic reactions in the majority of soy-allergic people. However, there is the the possibility that some of the more sensitive soybean allergic may react to ingestion of soy lecithin. Therefore the recommendation is to list lecithin as an allergen when used as a direct food ingredient.


FDA issued guidance in 2006 about allergen labeling of soy lecithin when used as a release agent. They indicated that  they would exercise "enforcement discretion" for food products that do not declare soy lecithin when it is used as a component of a release agent. However, if soy lecithin is used for any other purpose, it will still have to be listed as an allergen.



Edited by mgourley, 27 December 2018 - 10:24 AM.

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Gerard H.

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 08:32 AM

Dear Selma,


In addition to the answer from Marshall, I add the European legislation about allergen declaration, see link below. In Annex II, you will see that soy lecithin doesn't appear in the list of exceptions. It needs to be considered as an allergen. If you don't wish this situation, you could eventually look for other sources of lecithin, made from sunflower seeds for example.




Kind regards,


Gerard Heerkens

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:51 PM

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 – Bavarian Meats, a Seattle, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,400 pounds of Bavarian Brand Loaf products due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The product contains soy, a known allergen which is not declared on the product label. 
The Bavarian Brand Loaf items were produced prior to March 2, 2015. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels]

  • 5 lb., 1 lb., and ½ lb. packages containing “Bavarian Meats Bavarian Brand Loaf.” 

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 6431” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items produced were shipped to wholesale and retail locations in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The problem was discovered by FSIS inspection activities. The product contains soy lecithin which is used as a releasing agent when baking and was not declared on the finished product label. The product, which is a lunch meat containing pork and veal, is prepared and placed in loaf pans for baking. The releasing agent is used to coat the loaf pans prior to adding the product.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act in the U.S. requires the labeling of soy lecithin when used in any capacity, including use as a processing aid. To date, the Food & Drug Administration has granted two exemptions to soybean lecithin labeling from this law. On February 22, 2013, FDA granted a source labeling exemption for select soy lecithins produced by Solae, LLC [/size]when used as a release agent applied directly to food contact surfacesAdditionally, on February 25, 2013, the FDA withdrew its May 2, 2006 guidance entitled "Guidance on the Labeling of Certain Uses for Lecithin Derived from Soy Under Section 403(w) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" which originally indicated a willingness by FDA to use "regulatory discretion" in dealing with the labeling of soy lecithin in circumstances where soy lecithin is used as a stick-release or pan-release agent, a common processing aid use in the food industry.  Another exemption was granted to ADM on June 6, 2017 for several ADM soy lecithin products [/size]when used as a component of a release agent applied to food contact surfaces[/size].   FDA requires source labeling of  soy lecithin when used as a release agent applied directly to the food contact surfaces or as a direct ingredient in the product formulation, with the exception of the specific Solae and ADM soy lecithin products directly applied to food contact surfaces as outlined in the Exemption Notification.[/size]

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