Technical guidance on new allergen labelling and information rules to support SMEs

The FSA is issuing technical guidance to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comply with new allergen rules. The guidance gives SMEs information about changes in European Union food allergen labelling for prepacked foods and allergen information for non-prepacked foods, and is being published following a public consultation.

More about the guidance

From 13 December 2014, food businesses in the UK will have to follow new rules in labelling pre-packed foods and non-prepacked (loose) foods. This is part of the European Union Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC) coming into force. The FSA guidance aims to support SME food producers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and caterers, in following these rules. It provides detailed interpretations of the EU FIC’s allergen requirements and, where appropriate, examples of best practice.

Outcome of the consultation

A public consultation took place to allow stakeholders to comment on the guidance in draft. This was a two-phase consultation: phase one ran from 15 May 2014 to 5 June 2014 and phase two ran from 4 to 24 July 2014.

We are grateful to all those who commented. A summary of the results is below.

Phase one

  • A total of 36 responses were received.
  • A number of respondents commented that the guidance was too detailed and technical for SMEs.
  • We commented that the guidance aimed to provide detailed interpretations covering specific scenarios relating to allergen labelling of prepacked foods and the presentation of allergen information for non-prepacked foods. We also advised about FSA leaflets and tools for SMEs containing shorter advisory information in these areas. These can be downloaded via the 'See also' link on this page.
  • We received a number of specific comments relating to typographical errors and various legal interpretations in the guidance.
  • Following comments, we revised the guidance by: correcting typographical errors; amending the layout; reviewing references to other legislation; providing greater clarity in distinguishing between legal requirements and best practice; sense checking legal status advice; and elaborating, including further examples, where appropriate.
  • The revised guidance was published for further comment in phase two.

Phase two

  • A total of 18 responses were received. A summary of these and our responses can be found in the relevant PDF at the link towards the bottom of this page.
  • A number of respondents agreed that the revised layout and wording was more helpful for SMEs. We also received some specific comments relating to typographical errors.
  • Some comments suggested further guidance concerning specific food service sectors. We advised that FSA guidance is unable to cover specific businesses as this is a diverse group. Industry, trade bodies and enforcement bodies may wish to consider implementing specific guidance and offer best practice options to aid compliance.
  • Following comments, we revised the guidance by: correcting typographical errors; clarifying certain interpretations, including references to other regulation and further examples where appropriate; and sense checking legal status advice.

The final guidance can be found via the link towards the bottom of this page.

What area the guidance applies to:

  • additives and supplements
  • allergy and intolerance
  • dairy products and vegetable oils
  • fish and shellfish
  • food law, monitoring and controls
  • imports

When:

The public consultation ran from 15 May 2014 to 24 July 2014.

A summary of the responses received in second and final phase of the consultation, which ran from 4 to 24 July 2014, and the technical guidance are now available via the links towards the bottom of this page.

The guidance will be formally reviewed in July 2016.

Contact:

Chun-Han Chan
Food Allergy and Intolerance Branch
email: [email protected]

Government regulatory initiative that applies:

Accountability for Regulator Impact initiative.

More information about this initiative can be found via the link below.

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