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Allergen information for pre-packed and loose foods

There is specific information for different types of food including pre-packed and loose foods.


Pre-packed refers to any food put into packaging before being placed on sale. Food is pre-packed when it:

  • is either fully or partly enclosed by the packaging
  • cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging
  • is ready for sale

If the name of the product clearly refers to the allergen, there is no need for a separate allergen declaration to be made, such as ‘box of eggs’ or ‘bag of peanuts’.

Pre-packed for direct sale

Prepacked for direct sale or PPDS is food that is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in this packaging before it is ordered or selected.

It can include food that consumers select themselves (e.g. from a display unit), as well as products kept behind a counter and some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets.

The label needs to show the name of the food and the ingredients list with the 14 allergens required to be declared by law emphasised within it.

Please see our  labelling guidance for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food products. This guidance provides best practice and regulatory advice to food businesses affected by the PPDS allergen labelling requirements.


References to EU legislation in FSA guidance 

Directly applicable EU legislation no longer applies in GB. EU legislation retained when the UK exited the EU became assimilated law on 1 January 2024, published on References to any legislation in FSA guidance with ‘EU’ or ‘EC’ in the title (e.g. Regulation (EC) 178/2002) should now be regarded as assimilated law where applicable to GB. References to ‘Retained EU Law’ or ‘REUL’ should now be regarded as references to assimilated law. 

For businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, information on the Windsor Framework is available on GOV.UK. 

The Windsor Framework was adopted by the UK and EU on 24 March 2023. The Framework provides a unique set of arrangements to support the flow of agrifood retail products from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI), allowing GB standards for public health in relation to food, marketing and organics to apply for pre-packed retail goods moved via the NI Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS).

Loose foods

Loose foods include everything that is not pre-packed. If you provide loose foods, you will have to supply information for every item on the menu that contains any of the 14 allergens.

Rules for declaring allergens in loose foods:

  • provide information about the allergens used in these foods
  • allergen information should be available in writing or by speaking to staff
  • logos or symbols can be used when accompanied by words and numbers on menus

For loose foods allergen information has to be:

  • easily accessible to all consumers
  • accurate, consistent and verifiable