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Food allergens

​​​​​Allergic reactions to certain types of food known as allergens can be life threatening. Find out how you can report a business and what you need to do as a food business owner.

What does the law say about food allergens?

Since 13 December 2014, it's been a legal requirement that you provide information about the allergenic ingredients used in the food you sell or provide. This includes pre-packed and unpackaged food.

You're not allowed to say you don't know if a food contains a major allergen.

Report a business for not providing allergen information

If a business isn't providing allergen information or you believe the information they provided is inaccurate, you can report this as a food crime to the Food Standards Agency.

Report a food crime to the Food Standards Agency

What do I need to do about food allergens as a food business?

If you're a food business, we advise you take the following steps:

  1. Identify and record the allergens in the food you sell - we advise all food businesses to undertake an assessment to find out which allergens are present in the food they sell. Your assessment should include every dish, side dish, accompaniment, condiment or drink. View resources on how to identify and record the allergens in the food you sell
  2. Manage allergens on your premises - ensure there are practices in place to prevent allergenic cross contamination and train your staff to use these practices. View guidance on preventing cross contamination and how to train your staff
  3. Provide customers with allergen information - this can be done verbally or in writing. You must also display a notice advising customers with food allergies to tell you about their allergies. Download a copy of an allergen notice you can display on your premises
More allergen guidance from the Food Standards Agency

What are the major food allergens?

There are 14 major allergens which you need to clearly tell customers about if they're used in the food you sell. These are:

  • Cereals containing gluten, such as wheat, spelt, Khorasan wheat, barley, rye and oats
  • Crustaceans, such as prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Milk
  • Nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, macadamia or Queensland nut
  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Sesame
  • Sulphur dioxide or sulphites, often used in dried fruit and wine, meat products, soft drinks, if it's at a concentration of more than 10 parts per million
  • Lupin, such as seeds and flour
  • Molluscs, such as clams, scallops, squid, mussels, oysters and snails

What are the penalties?

It's an offence to provide inaccurate or incomplete information about allergenic ingredients and businesses that regularly fail to provide the right information can face a fine up to £5,000.


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