New Rules On Labelling Allergens In Food And Drink Sold To Consumers

November 2014
From 13th December 2014 new allergen labelling rules will be in force for businesses that supply food or drinks to consumers. The relevant Regulations are: EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (No. 1169/2011) (FIC) and Food Information Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1855) (FIR). These Regulations will apply to foods sold non-prepacked and prepacked for direct sale such as in restaurants, bakers, butchers, delicatessens, cafes, fast food outlets and institutional and other caterers. The Regulations will also cover prepacked food and will therefore affect food manufacturers, packers, retailers and online or catalogue stores.

What do the Regulations aim to achieve?

It is estimated that in the UK 2 million people have a food allergy. In order to assist allergic individuals in avoiding the food that causes the allergic reaction the Regulations require food businesses to provide clear and accurate information on the allergens present in the food they have produced. This means ensuring that all prepacked food is clearly labelled for allergens and that clear allergen information is provided for non-prepacked foods.

What does the food business operator need to do?

The Regulations include a list of the 14 most common ingredients and processing aids that cause food allergies and intolerances. In accordance with the legislation, if your food product contains or uses an ingredient or processing aid derived from one of the listed substances or products then it will need to be declared to the customer.

New Allergen documents.

Our Guidance Notes on the Food Allergen Notification Requirements for Food Businesses look at each of the 14 Allergen Groups in detail and also explain what suppliers of both prepacked food and non-prepacked food need to do and what procedures they should put in place to facilitate compliance with the Regulations.

The Allergen Policy is suitable for food business operators who provide non-prepacked foods and foods prepacked for direct sale. The policy contains information on the 14 Allergen Groups that must be declared and who has the responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Regulations. The Policy also details how the Company will monitor the provision of supplier information, the management of cross contamination, training and the provision of oral allergen information.

Three template forms are also available to help you to keep track of allergens used in your food business operation and to manage their use. The three templates are; Supplier Allergen Checklist, Recipe Allergen Checklist and Delivered Product – Supplier Notification of Allergens.

What happens if my business does not comply with the Regulations?

Failure to comply with the Regulations is a criminal offence and can result in a fine and criminal prosecution.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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