Wine and beer firms using fish gelatin in their products will not have to flag up the practice on labels, Australia and New Zealand's food safety authority has said in a draft ruling.

Tests have shown that isinglass, a processing aid commonly derived from fish bladders, is not associated with allergic reactions in consumers and so does not have to be listed on labels, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said today (1 October).

Its preliminary ruling, which will now enter a consultation period, follows an appeal to the watchdog from the Beer, Wine and Spirits Council of New Zealand.

Isinglass is used by some beer and wine producers as a clarifying agent.

"FSANZ has undertaken a robust and extensive assessment of the public health and safety implications of this application," the regulatory body said.

Its assessment has been backed by allergy expert Dr Rob Loblay, director of the Allergy Unit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, it added.

Reasons for the ruling include that isinglass is generally only present in small, residual amounts in finished beer and wine, and that its three main components - collagen, gelatin and elastin - are not considered major fish allergens.