Better information for food allergen sufferers

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People who suffer from food allergies should be able to make more informed choices when food businesses will be required to provide allergen information about the food they sell.

On 13 December new legislation, the Food Information Regulations 2014, comes into force. This will mean that food businesses must provide allergen information about the food they sell, even when it is not packaged.

Catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries, sandwich bars and takeaways will all have to provide information to customers about the ingredients they use in their food. There will also be changes to existing rules on labelling allergenic ingredients in pre-packed foods.

Our Environmental Health officers are providing advice and information to businesses in the area when they carry out programmed visits. Further information for businesses can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

14 major allergens

There are 14 major allergens which need to be declared – these are

  1. cereals containing gluten, namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), barley, rye and oats
  2. crustaceans like prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish, etc.
  3. eggs
  4. fish
  5. peanuts
  6. soybeans
  7. milk
  8. nuts, namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan, Brazil, pistachio, cashew, Macadamia or Queensland nut
  9. celery
  10. mustard
  11. sesame
  12. sulphur dioxide or sulphites (where added and is >10mg/kg in the finished product, such as in dried fruit and wine)
  13. Lupin
  14. molluscs like clams, scallops, squid, mussels, oysters and snails, etc.

To view infographics by the Food Standards Agency, click on a picture below.

Vitally important for allergy sufferers

Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “This is good news for those people who suffer from food allergies and a great opportunity for food businesses to reach new customers. The additional information those businesses must now provide will take much of the guesswork and worry out of buying food when out and about. It is vitally important for allergy sufferers to know exactly what they are consuming if they are to avoid any adverse reactions.”

No longer acceptable

Phrases like ‘May contain nuts’ will no longer be acceptable. Businesses must know if any of these ingredients have been used in the food they sell and staff must be able to provide consumers with the information on any allergens present.