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Food Allergens

If you operate a food business you must be able to provide accurate information to your customers on the allergens in the foods you serve. Individuals who are not food businesses and occasionally provide food at charity events or voluntary cake sales, for example, do not need to follow these requirements.

People with food allergies and intolerances have to be extremely careful about what they eat to prevent potentially serious consequences from eating food that they are allergic to.  Legislation requires businesses to provide allergen information for all foods sold or provided by them.

There are 14 allergens that need to identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish.  These include:

  1. Cereals containing gluten
  2. Peanuts (including oils)
  3. Nuts (including oils)
  4. Milk (all dairy products)
  5. Soya
  6. Egg
  7. Mustard
  8. Lupin
  9. Crustaceans
  10. Molluscs
  11. Fish
  12. Sesame seeds
  13. Celery
  14. Sulphur dioxide

 

To comply with the legal requirements you must:

  • Identify whether food you make or sell contains any of the 14 allergens.   Don't forget to read the labels and information provided by your supplier for all ingredients as some foods may contain surprising allergens.  For each dish you sell this must be documented so that you can refer to the information when asked.  Consider using  this pdf icon allergen chart [582kb] and review this information regularly to cover new dishes and also changes in ingredients.

  • Allergen information must be available at all times to consumers. Develop an effective system for communicating the presence of allergenic ingredients to consumers e.g. use the allergens chart, menu information, labelling and verbal advice.  Use signage or a notice on the menu to encourage customers to ask staff about allergens. You may wish to display pdf icon allergen signage [14kb].

  • Ensure that staff including food handlers, front of house and delivery staff are adequately trained so they are able to provide accurate information to the consumer on allergenic ingredients in the food you provide or sell.  Free online allergy training can be completed by staff.

  • Ensure that staff follow a set recipe to prevent accidental use of allergens.

  • When using ingredients containing allergens, take care to prevent cross contamination of foods from utensils, equipment and poor handling practices.

 

Need Advice?

For details and guidance on the allergen regulations and how they affect your business visit Food Standards Agency Allergen Information and Food Standards Agency Allergen Guidance.  You may also wish to download the documents below.