New Allergen Regulations

On 13th December 2014 the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation comes into force. These European rules will be enforced in the UK by the Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIR). The aim of these regulations is to 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.

Summary of the new rules

  • The EU has listed 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish
  • 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 provide loose food, such as supermarket food counters, delicatessens, restaurants, takeaways etc.
  • 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.

How to provide the information

Details of the allergens contained in your foods need to be listed clearly in an obvious place such as:

  • Menu
  • Chalkboard
  • Information pack

If it is not provided upfront you will need to signpost to where it can be obtained, this can either be in written or oral formats.

If the information is provided orally there must be a way for:

  • this information to be checked by others (verifiable)
  • it to be confirmed as accurate
  • the same information to be given every time (consistent)

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.

Pre-packaged foods

The new regulations also change the way in which allergens need to be identified on pre-packaged foods.

Please see the links below for further information.