All UK food businesses are required to follow the information rules for food allergens. Although allergen information may be provided verbally to customers, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) advised that this needs to be backed up by the information being in writing, to ensure it is accurate and consistent. It is a key recommendation that the information be recorded - for example, in the form of product specification sheets, ingredients labels and recipes or explanations of dishes.
Whilst your customers also have a responsibility to tell you about their allergy or intolerance, you must be able to demonstrate that you have accurate information and that it was available to the customer at the point of ordering or service.
In short: you must make sure that the 14 food allergens are declared, that your staff are trained about allergens, and that you manage allergens properly.
The law regarding the labelling of food and providing information is enforced by colleagues in Trading Standards. They have a comprehensive guide available for free download (external link).
Allergen labelling for pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) food
What is Pre-Packed for Direct Sale
What does packaging mean here?
- the food is fully or partly enclosed by the packaging
- the food cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging
- the food is ready for sale to the final consumer
- a cake completely wrapped in cling film
- a sandwich placed in a paper bag with the bag folded over or twisted to encase the sandwich
- rolls contained in a plastic bag that is tied with a knot or sealed