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The Do's and Don'ts of Food Allergens

If you run a food business, you have legal responsibilities for providing allergen information to your customers. Failure to comply can result in substantial fines or even imprisonment.

Here's what small businesses need to know:


  • Provide full allergen information for all pre-packed foods, with allergens emphasised on the label.

  • For foods packed on-site before ordering (like sandwiches), label with allergens by October 2021.

  • Give allergen info verbally or in writing for unpackaged foods. Keep it documented and updated.

  • Prevent cross-contamination by using separate equipment and surfaces for allergen foods.

  • Train staff on allergens and how to handle customer requests. Document all training.


  • Guess at allergen contents. Know exactly what's in each dish and all ingredients used.

  • Risk cross-contamination through re-using surfaces, utensils, or oils between allergen foods.

  • Make allergen-free claims without strict controls to prevent any allergen contact.

  • Assume staff know how to handle allergens. Provide comprehensive training.

  • Ignore an Improvement Notice. This can lead to unlimited fines or even imprisonment.

Protect your customers and your business by understanding allergen law. Don't hesitate to seek legal advice if you are unsure of your duties. Handling allergens safely takes work, but it's essential.


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