Guidance for Food Business Operators on how to declare allergens present in food and drink sold to consumers

Guidance Notes on the Food Allergen Notification Requirements for Food Businesses

HS.ALL.01
These Guidance Notes On The Food Allergen Notification Requirements For Food Businesses provide information on the new allergen labelling rules which come into force from 13th December 2014. These Regulations will affect Food Business Operators that supply food or drinks to consumers, where the food or drinks are sold prepacked, non-prepacked or prepacked for direct sale. The relevant regulations are: EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (No. 1169/2011) (FIC) and Food Information Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1855) (FIR).

The Regulations will apply to all Food Business Operators including; food manufacturers, packers, retailers, online stores, restaurants, bakers, butchers, delicatessens, cafes, fast food outlets and institutional and other caterers.

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.

The Regulations include an annex which lists fourteen allergen groups that are deemed the most common ingredients or processing aids that cause food allergies and intolerances and these allergens must be declared to the customer.

The Guidance Notes look at each allergen group in detail with examples of where such ingredients may commonly be found and also where their presence may not always be obvious. The Guidance Notes also explain in more detail 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.

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

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