Allergy Awareness

It is a legal requirement for Caterers, Wholesalers and Foodservice companies to comply with the FIC Regulations (The Food Information for Consumers) to ensures that all allergen information is available upon request. Additionally, these food companies must display accurate information on the 14 major allergens found within the food they produce,
sell or serve.

In light of recent headlines regarding the importance of correct allergen labelling, caterers are urged when serving food, to utilise the facilities available from their respective wholesaler to ensure that all staff are up to speed with the allergen content of foods and ingredients in their operation. Only ‘pre-packed’ foods are required by law to declare specified allergenic ingredients on the label and these requirements do not apply to foods which are sold unwrapped or to foods that are sold ‘pre-packed for direct sale’.

“39% of allergy/intolerance sufferers who buy/used free-from products want to see a UK allergen labelling system”

Allergy vs. Intolerance

Food Allergy – a person’s immune system reacts to a particular food and activates a defence system
Food Intolerance – Symptoms take longer to develop and can affect long-term health issues
Food Sensitivity – a bad reaction to food that is safe to eat

What are the major food allergens?

If your food or drink product contains any of the identified 14 allergens, it must be included on the label in bold.

Allergen Advice

  • Always ensure staff know the ingredients in the food your outlet offers and are advised of any recipe changes or ingredient substitutions.
  • If you use part pre-prepared ingredients, make sure you know what is in them.
  • Staff should receive training on handling allergy information requests.
  • There should be an agreed practice for dealing with allergy information requests and all staff should know about this, as
    well as having easy access to ingredients information.
  • Use an ‘allergen tool’ that can check allergen content of an ingredient or product listed. This ensures your customers and staff are well informed.

“The allergen-free market has grown around 20% in the past year”

What are the major food allergens?

If your food or drink product contains any of the identified 14 allergens, it must be included on the label in bold.

Food Allergy

“Eight out of 10 businesses are getting requests from customers for more allergen information”

Sources: Food Standards Agency, Erudus, The Caterer, Allergy UK, Mintel 2018