People with food allergies have to be extremely careful about what they eat. Food labelling is therefore very important to those with food allergies as there can be potentially serious consequences from eating food that they are allergic to.

Allergen labelling

Allergen labelling rules changed in December 2014 meaning all food businesses need to provide information about certain allergenic ingredients used in food sold or provided by them. If any of the fourteen major allergens Opens in a new window are present they will be highlighted on the label within the ingredients list for pre-packed foods.

For foods made on site or sold without packaging this information must be available for customers e.g. written down on a chalk board, or provided orally by a member of staff. Where the specific allergen information is not provided upfront, clear signposting Opens in a new window to where this information could be obtained must be provided. These rules will only cover information about major allergens intentionally used as ingredients.

Allergic to food not on the list

If you are allergic to a food that is not on the fourteen major allergens Opens in a new window (the 14 major allergens), it may not be included on the allergen information provided. If in doubt, speak to a member of staff. However, as this information does not need to be provided at present, be aware that the person serving you might not actually know what is in the foods. Don’t take risks if you or they aren’t sure.

Think Allergy chef cards

When you’re eating out, use these handy cards to help make sure restaurant staff know about your food allergies.

  Download allergy chef cards Opens in a new window

Allergy alerts

Sometimes foods have to be withdrawn or recalled if there is a risk to consumers because the allergy labelling is missing or incorrect or if there is any other food allergy risk. You can sign up to receive alerts from the Food Standards Agency when this happens.

  Sign up for allergy alerts Opens in a new window

You can find out more information about the food hygiene rating scheme on the Food Standards Agency Opens in a new window website.