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 do not need to follow these requirements.
People with food allergies and intolerance’s have to be extremely careful about what they eat to prevent potentially serious consequences. Legislation requires businesses to provide allergen information for all foods sold or provided by them.
There are 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish. These include:
- cereals containing gluten
- peanuts (including oils)
- nuts (including oils)
- milk (all dairy products)
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide
To comply with the legal requirements, you must:
- identify if the 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. Some foods may contain surprising allergens.
- document each dish you sell so that you can refer to the information when asked. Consider using an allergen chart. Make sure to review this information regularly to cover new dishes and 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. For example, 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 allergen signage.
- ensure that staff including food handlers, front of house and delivery staff are trained 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.
Pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) allergen labelling
See the links below for information on food allergen labelling requirements for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food, changed from 1 October 2021 in England.
These advise businesses of the changes and assist them in understanding their obligations under the new legal requirements when selling PPDS food to consumers. They list the new allergen labelling requirements for PPDS food. It outlines how these will affect businesses and what steps they need to take to comply.
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.
Advice for teenagers and young adults with a food allergy
Useful tips and advice to support teenagers and young adults to manage their food allergy is available as part of the Speak Up For Allergies campaign.
The Food Standards Agency have produced a short YouTube video to help you understand more about food allergies.