Food allergies

Guidance for businesses on providing allergen information to consumers.

Food allergies can be life threatening and the only way people can deal with a food allergy is to avoid the foods that make them ill. An oversight by a food business – such as serving someone food to which they are allergic – can damage the reputation of the business, as well as cause serious harm to the customer.

Food allergens cannot be removed by cooking. This is why it’s essential to practise good kitchen hygiene, as well as careful separation, storage and labelling of ingredients when preparing food.

Our free online food allergy training has information and guidance on ensuring the food that is produced and served to consumers is safe.

Providing food allergy information to customers

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (Retained EU Legislation) FIC contains a list of 14 substances or products which may cause food allergies or intolerances. When any of these are used as ingredients in prepacked foods their presence must be emphasised in the ingredient list so that they clearly stand out from the other ingredients. These are:

  • Celery
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Gluten
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs
  • Mustard
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Soya
  • Sulphur Dioxide

Foods sold prepacked for direct sale

From 1 October 2021, foods that are sold prepacked for direct sale must be fully labelled with allergens highlighted emphasised on the list of ingredients.

Read more about the new labelling requirements and how these may affect your business.

Non prepacked foods

When used in foods sold non-prepacked, information on their presence must be available for potential consumers prior to purchase. This may be provided on a menu, chalkboard, shelf label or verbally.

Download a poster to display on your premises that details the 14 allergens.

More on this topic


Food allergen labelling and information requirements Technical Guidance

This publication aims to help food businesses follow allergen information and, where required, labelling requirements. It will also help authorised food officers enforce these measures.


Allergy Poster

Download a poster detailing the 14 major allergens that must be mentioned when used as ingredients on food.