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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.

Last updated: 4 November 2022
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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.


England, Northern Ireland and Wales


EU references in FSA guidance documents 

The FSA is updating all EU references, to accurately reflect the law now in force, in all new or amended guidance published since the Transition Period ended at the end of 2020.  In some circumstance it may not always be practicable for us to have all EU references updated at the point we publish new or amended guidance.

Other than in Northern Ireland, any references to EU Regulations in this guidance should be read as meaning retained EU law. You can access retained EU law via HM Government EU Exit Web Archive. This should be read alongside any EU Exit legislation that was made to ensure retained EU law operates correctly in a UK context. EU Exit legislation is on  In Northern Ireland, EU law will continue to apply in respect to the majority of food and feed hygiene and safety law, as listed in the Northern Ireland Protocol, and retained EU law will not apply to Northern Ireland in these circumstances.

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