Allergens

Food businesses are required by law to provide information on the allergenic ingredients used in foods sold or provided by them.

The 14 allergens

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten (including wheat, rye, barley and oats)
  • crustaceans (including crab, prawns and lobster)
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin (lupins are common garden plants and the seeds from some varieties are sometimes used to make flour)
  • milk
  • molluscs (including clams, mussels, squid and oysters)
  • mustard
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soya
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (preservatives that are used in some foods and drinks)
  • tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts)

Guidance for businesses

As a food business serving loose food, you have to supply information for every item on your menu that contains any of the 14 allergens as ingredients.

Details of these allergens should be listed clearly in an obvious place such as:

  • a menu
  • a chalkboard
  • information pack

If it is not provided up front, you need to signpost to where it could be obtained, either in writing or verbally by a member of staff.

Resources for allergen information including signage, infographics, e-cards, posters and artwork are available to download from the Food Standards Agency

It is important that staff are trained in allergy awareness. The interactive food allergy training module can help you do this. 

Advice for consumers

Consumers also have a responsibility to ask for allergen information when ordering or purchasing food, and to inform the food business of any dietary requirements.

You can help make sure staff know about your food allergy by carrying allergy chef cards with you and handing one to the serving staff each time you eat out.

Food businesses are required by law to provide allergen information. If you ask for this information and they cannot provide it, ask to speak to the manager of the business. If you are still not satisfied, you can report it to us.

 

When this content has been updated

Last updated 8 September 2017