Food businesses reminded to provide allergen guidance

Published: Monday, 08 October 2018

In the wake of recently reported fatal allergic reactions the Borough Council is reminding food and drink businesses of their legal requirement to provide allergen information about products they sell

To ensure that food and drink provided is safe for customers with allergies and intolerances, businesses must record all ingredients information by providing recipes or explanations of dishes served, ingredients labels and product specification sheets.

There are 14 major foods which can cause allergic reactions. These are:

  • celery
  • cereals that contain gluten – including wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats
  • crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin (a legume belonging to the same plant family as peanuts)
  • milk
  • molluscs – such as mussels and oysters
  • mustard
  • tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soybeans
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites - commonly used preservatives (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)

Products that contain any of these foods as an ingredient will need to be declared by the business.

The customer has a responsibility to notify the server about their allergy or intolerance, so allergen information can also be provided as part of a conversation with them. However, any conversation needs to be backed up with written information, to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Keeping records of allergen information and communicating with suppliers, staff and customers, will help to ensure that accurate information is given to anyone with a food allergy.

Councillor Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “It is absolutely vital for food and drink businesses to make customers aware of all ingredients in the products they serve, as we know there can be tragic consequences without this information.

Research has found that 60% of young people with a food allergy or intolerance avoid eating out because of their condition, but more than half (59%) said they often visit the same food outlet if they’ve eaten safely there before. This suggests that good allergen information could boost your business.

Find further information and free resources for businesses in the Food Standards Agency's allergens guidance.