From December 2014 the law concerning the information that businesses must give to their customers about food changed.
The Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIR) changed the way that you and your staff provide information to customers. Follow this link to get further information from the Food Standards Agency website (External Link).
Allergic reactions can make people very ill and can sometimes lead to death. There is no cure and the only way to avoid getting ill is to make sure you don’t eat the foods that will make you ill.
You have a legal responsibility to provide the correct allergen information about the ingredients in the food that you make or serve to your customers.
There is a list of 14 food allergens to consider. The list consists of cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, eggs, fish, peanuts, nuts, soybeans, milk, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin and sulphur dioxide at levels above 10mg/kg, or 10 mg/litre, expressed as SO2.
As a business serving unpackaged food, you need to provide information about the allergenic ingredients used in the food that you serve or sell. You have to provide information about every item on your menu that contains one of the 14 allergens listed in the legislation. You can do this on the menu, on a chalkboard or in an information pack. If it is not listed clearly in an obvious place you will need to signpost your customers to where the information can be obtained.
You can no longer say that you don’t know whether a food contains an allergen or that all the food that you serve may contain an allergen. You will need to know what is in the food that you provide.
If you use pre-packed foods as an ingredient, please remember that some products have a long shelf life. It is important to check the label.
Customers may provide food businesses with Chef’s Cards which list the foods that they are allergic to. These are intended to help caterers to understand exactly which foods their customers need to avoid.
If you sell food at a distance, such as by telephone orders, you will need to provide allergen information orally before the order is complete and in a written format when the order is delivered.
The Food Standards Agency has produced an information booklet, Allergen Information For Loose Foods, which is designed for caterers, cafes, restaurants, takeaways, schools and institutions, sandwich bars and so on, which you may find helpful. Loose Foods leaflet (External Link PDF 1.7mb)
There is also a guide for small and medium businesses who make or sell pre-packed food. Guide for SME businesses who make or sell pre-packed food (External Link PDF 1.7mb )
An online training course for you and your staff can be accessed at the Allergy Training Government website (External Link)
For more information regarding food allergies for businesses please follow this link - https://www.food.gov.uk/science/allergy-intolerance (External Link)
If you require any further information please contact the Food and Safety Team
Last updated 2 June 2017