From 13th December 2014 it became compulsory that any of the 14 most common allergens are
clearly marked on pre-packed food and food sold loose and allergen information must be available
written and/or verbally on food sold in restaurants, cafes and delis.
be clearly visible in the ingredients list of food products, manufacturers can choose to
highlight the allergens in any way including using adifferent colour
text, using italics or underline, or
the most commonly used way, bold text. The following allergens are the 14 which
will have to be highlighted :-
- Cereals which contain gluten, i.e. barley, rye and wheat
- Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios etc
- Celery and celeriac
- Sulphur dioxide (found in some dried fruits)
Following the use of this new system, allergen information boxes e.g. "Contains gluten and milk"
will no longer be allowed to be printed on product packaging due to the allergens already being
highlighted in the ingredients list. However if cross contamination is a risk factor
manufacturers are allowed to specify a "may contain" warning but legally doesn't have to be
printed on products, it is only down to courtesy from the manufacturer if they print it or not.
In restaurants, cafes and delis allergens must be clearly specified either on a chart, chalk
board or orally by a staff member, if the allergens are not specified upfront there must be
clear signposts to where the information can be obtained. Again this rule only covers the 14
major allergy groups.
The new rule does not cover accidental presence of cross contamination, such as when eating out
and small pieces of other food items could fall onto deli counters or bowls, therefore you still
need to be vigilante when it comes to cross contamination and buying loose food.