Advice for food business operators

Businesses have a legal obligation to supply information to consumers on the allergens that are in the food that they serve and sell.

Consumers may be allergic or have intolerance to other ingredients, but only the 14 allergens are required to be declared as allergens by food law. This also applies to additives, processing aids and any other substances which are present in the final product.

The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).

The information can be given to consumers in a variety of ways, including chalk boards, tickets, menus or orally. The information needs to be available before the consumer purchases the food.

Packed food also requires labelling. Food packed on the premises where it is sold is called food Pre-Packed of Direct Sale (PPDS).

Where to find more information

The Food Standards Agency and Suffolk Trading Standards can provide you with additional information.

The Food Standards Agency has produced:

  • guidance on the signage required
  • free allergen training
  • videos
  • information on Pre-Packed for Direct Sale legislation (video and toolkit)
  • requirements for selling loose food and
  • technical guidance on allergen labelling for catering establishments

This information can be found at Food Standards Agency - Allergen guidance for food businesses.

Or you can visit the Suffolk Trading Standards section of the Suffolk County Council website: Suffolk Trading Standards - Working with food

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