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Food allergy information

Food allergy Information

What you need to know

This information is for anyone who works in a café or restaurant, or in a business selling food you wrap yourself e.g. sandwiches, loose bread rolls, cakes, deli products or other unpackaged foods.

When someone has a food allergy, eating even a small bit of that food can make them very ill. Sometimes they could even die. So, when you are at work, it's very important for you to take food allergy seriously.

On the 13 December 2014 a law came into force making it easier for people with food allergies to be sure the food they are eating is safe for them.

The law was called The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulations No.1169/2011.

It requires allergen information to be given in a clearer and more consistent way; making it easier for you to make safer food choices when buying food. You may have noticed differences to food allergen labels on pre-packed​ items like biscuits and cereals already, as businesses prepare for the changeover to the new rules.

Please find below some useful documents to support you in the change.​​Advice for cooking and eating out​

Seven tips on food allergy

  1. When someone asks you if a food contains a particular ingredient, always check every time – never guess.
    If you check but you're still not sure, tell the customer so they can decide for themselves.
  2. If you are selling a food that contains one or more of the ingredients which can cause a problem, list them on the card, label or menu – and make sure the information is accurate.
  3. Keep up-to-date ingredients information for any ready-made foods that you use (for example, a filling you put in a sandwich). The ingredients might be on the label or invoice.
  4. When you are making food, make sure you know what is in all the ingredients you use, including cooking oils, dressings, toppings, sauces and garnishes.
  5. If you change the ingredients of a food, make sure you update your ingredients information and tell other staff about the change.
  6. If someone asks you to make some food for them that does not contain a particular ingredient, don’t say yes unless you can make sure that absolutely none of that ingredient will be in the food.
  7. If you're making food for someone with an allergy, make sure work surfaces and equipment have been thoroughly cleaned. And wash your hands thoroughly before preparing that food.​

Interactive food allergy tool

An interactive food allergy training tool is available from the Food Standards Agency.

The training tool highlights steps that should be followed to make sure good practice is used in the manufacture and production of food.

It also offers practical advice to local authority food law enforcement officers (both food hygiene and food standards) and anyone wanting to learn more about food allergy, such as managers and staff in the manufacturing and catering industries.​

More information

Advice for cooking and eating out. The precautions you need to take if you or someone your know has an allergy.

The Food Standards Agency has further guidance for business on the legal requirements when declaring and labelling allergens. There are also resources to help staff understand and apply the requirements.

Further information on food allergies, symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention is also produced by the NHS website.

Allergen information for pre-packed and loose foods

There is specific information for different types of food including pre-packed and loose foods.