Free food allergen information and labelling guide
From December 2014, caterers will need to document full allergen information relating to all their menu items. This will prove a challenge to many businesses that regularly change their product range or menus.
Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (EU FIC) was published in October 2011. In the UK, it will be enforced through the Food Information Regulations 2013.
In the area of food allergens the Regulation introduces two main requirements:
- Allergens must be highlighted in the ingredients lists of packaged foods.
- Allergen information must now be available for loose foods. Previously, although good practice, this was not a legal requirement.
This does not include those substances being present through cross-contamination.
The 14 allergens that must be declared
- Cereals containing gluten â€“ wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or kamut
- Tree nuts ie. almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, brazil nut, pistachio nut, macadamia nut and queensland nut
- Celery and celeriac
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites
How allergen information can be provided
The information can be supplied on the menu, on chalk boards, tickets or in other written formats. It will not be enough for caterers to say they do not know whether a particular food contains any of the relevant allergens.
It may be possible to provide allergen information verbally upon request by the customer; it will depend on whether this is stipulated in UK legislation (which is still to be finalised). If this is allowed, there will be a requirement to have clear signage to inform customers of this.
Safer Food Scores Allergen Tips
- Ensure recipes or product specifications are available for all the food you sell
- Examine the ingredient packaging carefully especially composite ingredients
- Consider whether any processing aids may contain allergens e.g. cooking oils
- Prepare a chart detailing the allergens in each product
- Collate this information into a Food Allergen Handbook
- Have the Food Allergen Handbook approved by a suitably trained person
- Direct customers to the location of the Handbook using clear notices and menus
- Foods substituted on delivery should be carefully checked and allergens notified
- Train staff in food allergy awareness and your food allergen procedures
- Ensure any new products and specials are approved and added to the Handbook
- Unless you can guarantee no cross-contamination from allergens on site Include the following statement in the Food Allergen Handbook
‘As some of our menu items contain ……………., there is a risk that traces of these may be in other dishes or foods served here’
Safer Food Scores has produced a handbook ‘Food Information Regulation (FIR) Advice for Caterers’ and a ‘Food Allergen Chart Template’ Please contact us for free copies or to find out more about our food allergen e-learning and food allergy awareness courses