Allergy & Allergen - New Regulations 2014

Allergy & Allergen - New Regulations 2014

New allergen rules are here

Guidance and materials to assist food businesses in promoting, implementing and complying with the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation, launched on 13th December 2014.

Every year we see 4,500 hospital admissions and 10 deaths from food allergy. New allergen information rules are here to change the way you get information on 14 allergens, if included in the food you buy.

What the new rules will mean for you if you are a consumer:

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 pre-packed foods. This means all allergen information will be found on the ingredients list only.

What the new rules will mean for you if you are a consumer if you are a food business manufacturing pre-packed food:

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.

Food allergy and intolerance are growing health concerns in the UK. They are life changing and in serious cases can be fatal, or lead to long-term health conditions.

From 13th December 2014, a new piece of European legislation, called the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC) means allergen information must be provided in a clearer and more consistent way on pre-packed and loose food, making it easier for you to make safer choices when buying food or eating out.

What the new rules will mean for you if you are a food business selling loose food or in food service (for example school canteens, cafes, restaurants, takeaways, caterers):

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.

For more Allergen information for loose foods see the technical guidance documents below:

Allergy Loose Foods Leaflet Dec 2014 (PDF Download)

Think Allergy poster (PDF Poster Download)

Chief Cards (PDF Download)

The EU law has listed 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish. This means that from 13th December 2014, all food businesses will 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 foods counters, delicatessens, restaurants, 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.

Ignorance is no excuse:

The change in the law means that you will no longer be able to say that you don't know what allergens are in the food you serve.

You are also not allowed to say that all the foods you serve could contain an allergen.

You will need to know what is in the food you provide.

What does Pre-packed’ mean?

'Pre-packed' refers to any food put into packaging before being placed on sale, when all the following things apply:-

The food is either fully or party enclosed by the packaging.

The food cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging.

The product is ready for sale to the public or to a catering establishment.

Food Labelling - Allergies & The Law

Food allergens used as ingredients or processing aids must be declared. See the EU Food Information for Consumers (EU FIC) Regulation No. 1169/2011.

Food must not be placed on the market if it is considered to be harmful to health (see Article 12 of EU General Food Law Regulation 178/2002).

Food labelling information is important in deciding if a food is safe to eat and prevent consumers from accidentally eating a food which will make them ill.

This is a guide for small and medium businesses that make or sell pre-packed food:

Allergy labelling for pre-packed foods (PDF)