Food allergens

There are important changes to the information that food businesses must give to their customers

On 13 December 2014, the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC) came into force. These European rules are enforced in the UK by the Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIR).

FIR changes the way you and your staff provide information to your customers.

This legislation applies to you if, for example, you:

  1. provide meals in a café or restaurant
  2. sell food that you wrap yourself, such as loose bread rolls, sandwiches, cakes, deli products or other unpackaged foods
  3. provide institutional catering such as in schools, hospitals and care homes

During the preparation of loose food, you may be using prepacked foods as ingredients in your recipe. Allergenic ingredients will be emphasised within the ingredients list of prepacked foods.

The EU law has listed 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish.This means all food businesses need to provide information about the allergenic ingredients used in foods sold or provided by them.

There are also new requirements for businesses which are providing loose food, such as supermarket food counters, delicatessens, restaurants and takeaways. As a food business serving loose foods, you will have to supply information for every item on your menu that contains any of the 14 allergens as ingredients.

How to provide this information

Details of these allergens will have to be listed clearly in an obvious place such as:

  1. a menu
  2. chalkboard
  3. information pack

If it is not provided upfront, you will need to signpost to where it could be obtained, either in written or oral formats.

There are 14 major allergens which need to be declared when used as ingredients. The following list tells you what these allergens are:

  • Celery
  • Cereals containing gluten (e.g. Flour, wheat)
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs
  • Mustard
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soya
  • Sulphur Dioxide

You can sign up for Food Standards text alert service for alerts about allergens and other Food Safety issues just click here

If you require further advice or assistance please contact our Business Regulation Service using the details in the "Contact Us" section on this page.

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