2nd May 2014



 Issue No.  2014/08



Food Allergy Awareness

Allergies are life changing and in a small number of cases, can be fatal.  What’s more, it is reported that there is growing evidence that more people are becoming allergic to certain foods.

Recent reports suggest that up to 2% of adults and 5-8% of children have allergies and approximately 10 people die each year (probably more) with many more needing hospital treatment.

Awareness Week

It has been Allergy Awareness Week this week (April 28th – May 4th) and the Food Standards Agency are working with Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign to help raise awareness about food allergies.  With that in mind we felt it timely to comment.

New Impact on Caterers

On December 13th 2014, allergen awareness will increase further with the Food Information for Consumer Regulations new requirement for allergen information to be provided for foods sold non-packed or pre-packed for direct sale.

At the moment, food manufacturers include allergen details on labels but food businesses (e.g. restaurants, hotels, pubs, sandwich shops) selling food prepared or wrapped on site are not currently required by law to indicate whether it contains ingredients that people maybe allergic to.  This makes eating out and buying food that is not pre-packed particularly difficult for food allergic customers because there is less information on which allergens are present in the food and so it is harder for them to know which foods are safe for them to eat.  From December 13th it will be necessary  for caterers and retail outlets – anyone who sells non-pre-packed food (unwrapped food or pre-packed for direct sale) to provide information on allergens.

The allergens included in this legislation are:

  • Cereals containing gluten – wheat, barley, rye, spelt oats & kamut
  • Crustaceans – crab, lobster, prawns, langoustine & shrimps
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Lupin (Lupin seeds and flour in some types of bread & pastries)
  • Milk
  • Molluscs – squid, octopus, mussels, cockles, periwinkles & snails
  • Nuts – almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan, macadamia & Queensland
  • Peanuts – including groundnuts & monkey nuts
  • Soya
  • Sesame
  • Celery & celeriac
  • Mustard
  • Sulphur dioxide & sulphites (preservatives in dried foods, drinks)

Food business operators will need to provide information if any of the foods / ingredients listed above are used in the preparation of the food they supply.  The information can be supplied on the menu, on chalkboards, tickets or provided verbally by an appropriate member of staff as well as in other formats made available to the consumer.  It must be clear and conspicuous, easily visible and legible.

If the information is to be provided verbally by a member of staff then it will be necessary to make it clear that the information can be obtained by asking a member of staff.  It will no longer be enough for a food business operator to say that they do not know whether or not a food contains an allergen, nor will it be enough to say that all their foods may contain allergens.

These changes are to be found in the Food Information for Consumers Regulations 2013 and they will ensure that all consumers are given comprehensive ingredient listing information and make it easier for people with food allergies to identify ingredients they need to avoid.

If you have any concerns about how you manage food safety within your business please do contact us on 08456 446 006.





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