Food Guidance

Food Information Regulations – Allergy Labelling

The way food is labelled changes from December 12th, 2014. This affects not just pre packed food but ALL food throughout every stage of production, whether you are a Food Business Operator (FBO)* or a consumer.

If you are a consumer

The new allergen information rules will mean that:

  • you can now ask for information about 14 allergens, if used as an ingredient in the food you are buying, when you eat out.
  • you will see allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example, using bold, italics or colours) on prepacked foods. This means all allergen information will be found on the ingredients list only.

If you are a food business selling loose food or in food service (for example school canteens, cafes, restaurants, takeaways, caterers)

The allergen information rules mean that:

  • you must provide information about 14 allergens, if used as an ingredient in the food you are providing or selling. You can do this on a menu, chalkboard, website or orally, but must signpost your customers to this information.

If you are a food business manufacturing prepacked food

The allergen information rules mean that:

  • you will have to emphasise allergenic ingredients (for example, by using bold, italics or colours) on the ingredients list. This means all allergen information will be provided on the ingredients list only.

For more information, see the technical guidance document below.

The New Food Information Regulations 2014 bring in the EU Food Information for Consumers Directive 1169/2011.

Changes From  December, 2014

ALL food needs to provide information if it may contain any of the 14 allergens that are on the regulatory list. This includes food that was previously exempt from labelling such as loose food and food sold via restaurants and takeaways.

The Food Safety Agency points out, ‘Food allergens can be life threatening and the only way people can manage a food allergy is to avoid the foods that make them ill. An oversight on your part – such as serving someone a food they are allergic to – can damage the reputation of your business as well as cause serious harm to your customer. Food allergens can not be removed by cooking. That is why it’s essential to practise good kitchen hygiene, as well as careful separation, storage and labelling of ingredients when preparing food.’

The specific allergens that need to be declared are:

  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Sesame
  • Sulphur dioxide or sulphites (at a level above 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre)
  • Lupin
  • Molluscs

For more information of the changes to food labelling, you can read our leaflet, The ABCs Of Food Information Regulation (PDF).

There are a number of resources for business provided by the Food Standards Agency to explain the importance of and guidance on the new regulations:

 

Further Help

 

If you need further advice please contact your local district council Environmental Health/Food Safety department:

More industry guidance on allergen labelling can be found here:

*You are a food business operator if you regularly sell or provide food (including drinks) and as such should be registered with your local District Council Environmental Health service. One off events such as fundraising sales or occasional cooking classes are not usually caught by these Regulations. If you are unsure please contact this service for further advice.