Allergy and intolerance: Guidance for businesses

This guidance is designed to help food businesses provide information to customers who need to avoid certain ingredients because of an allergy. It includes general advice and information on allergy and intolerance, the food labelling rules and specific voluntary best practice guidance on cross-contamination controls for pre-packed foods and loose foods.

Additionally, there are a number of other resources available that provide advice on food allergy, including Safer food, better business (SFBB) and a number commercial guidance notes produced, for example, by the British Retail Consortium and the Food and Drink Federation.

New allergy labelling legislation

At the end of 2014, new legislation (the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation 1169/2011) will be introduced that will require food businesses to provide allergy information on food sold unpackaged, in for example catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars. There will also be changes to existing legislation on labelling allergenic ingredients in prepacked foods. Guidance is being developed to help businesses meet these new requirements and this page will be updated as this progresses. More information about the new European legislation can be found on the European Commission website at the link provided.

The public consultation on the new legislation was held from November 2012 – January 2013 and views were sought from interested parties on how this will affect them. For further information on the outcome of the consultation, visit the Defra website via the link on the right hand side of this page.

If you would like to be kept up-to-date with changes to the legislation email FoodIntoleranceEnquiries@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Food allergy training online

An interactive food allergy training tool can be found at food.gov.uk/allergy-training.

It highlights steps that should be followed to make sure good practice is used in the manufacture and production of food. It also offers practical advice to local authority food law enforcement officers (both food hygiene and food standards) and anyone wanting to learn more about food allergy, such as managers and staff in the manufacturing and catering industries.

Related Items

More in this section

  • Food allergen labelling legislation: Guidance

    Thursday 17 March 2011

    Guidance on food allergen labelling for pre-packed foods to help manufacturers, retailers, caterers and enforcement authorities ensure consistent and transparent labelling.

  • Allergen management and labelling for pre-packed foods

    Saturday 10 March 2012

    Best practice guidance on managing food allergens with particular reference to avoiding cross-contamination and using appropriate advisory labelling (e.g. 'May contain' labelling).

  • Providing allergen information for non pre-packed foods

    Monday 16 January 2012

    Voluntary best practice advice to help food retailers and caterers selling food that is not pre-packed provide allergen information on the food they sell.

  • Labelling of 'gluten free' foods

    Friday 8 November 2013

    Around 1% of people in the UK have coeliac disease (sometimes referred to as gluten intolerance). This is a lifelong autoimmune disease which is caused by the immune system reacting to gluten. This makes labelling claims about gluten in foods an important issue.