• Food Businesses across Europe are now required by law to tell customers if their food contains ingredients known to trigger allergies.

    Staff must provide information on 14 everyday allergens including nuts, milk, celery, gluten, soya and wheat.

    The new measures, which come into force on last December, cover meals served in bakeries, cafes, care homes and packaged produce sold by supermarkets.

    Businesses that don’t comply could be faced with fines.


    Allergy Reactions

    Some five thousand people need treatment in hospital for severe allergic reactions each year in the UK, and some cases are even fatal.

    Experts say the majority of these deaths and visits to hospital are avoidable, and some are a result of people being given incorrect information about ingredients.

    Under the new legislation customers must be told if their food contains any of the following:

    • celery – including any found in stock cubes and soup

    • cereals containing gluten – including spelt, wheat, rye, barley

    • crustaceans – eg crabs, lobster, prawns and shrimp paste

    • eggs – including food glazed with egg

    • fish

    • lupin – can be found in some types of bread, pastries, pasta

    • milk

    • molluscs – mussels, land snails, squid, also found in oyster sauce

    • mustard

    • nuts – for example almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia

    • peanuts – also found in groundnut oil

    • sesame seeds – found in some bread, houmous, tahini

    • soya – found in beancurd, edamame beans, tofu

    • sulphur dioxide – used as a preservative in dried fruit, meat products, soft drinks, vegetables, alcohol.


    Business can provide information through leaflets or through conversations, on menu’s, signs or verbally through their staff.

    But which ever way it is given, staff should be very aware of the ingredients in the items on the menu.

    Pre-packaged food bought in supermarkets must also have clear allergen information on the labels.

    More info can be gained from the food standard agency or the National Hospitality Academy