Allergen information for ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food

Information note on the new allergen labelling rules for food businesses which will come into effect from October 2021

From 1 October 2021, the way food businesses must provide allergen labelling information for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food will change.

These changes will provide essential information to help people with a food allergy or intolerance to make safe choices when buying PPDS food.

Who this applies to

This information note is for businesses that currently sell PPDS food or aim to do so in 2021.

How the changes will apply

Currently, the law does not require PPDS food to carry allergen information on the packaging.

From 1 October 2021, PPDS food will need to have a label with a full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it.

The new PPDS food rules should not change consumers and businesses having conversations about allergens.

Outline of new rules

According to the new rules, PPDS food will have to clearly display the following information on the packaging:

  1. name of the food,
  2. full ingredients list, with
  3. allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example in bold, italics or a different colour)

Prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food

As there is no legal definition, the current FSA interpretation for PPDS is that it applies to foods that have been packed on the same premises from which they are being sold. Food that can fall into this category could include meat pies made on site and sandwiches made and sold from the premises in which they are made. It is expected that the customer is able to speak with the person who made or packed the product to ask about ingredients.

The FSA is currently developing a revised working interpretation of the types of food to which this legislation applies. This will be published on 1 October 2019 which will give food businesses a two-year transition period to prepare for the new requirements.

This will give greater clarity on the types of food covered, and how they are made available to the consumer.

Further information will also be provided in FSA Detailed Technical Implementation Guidance which we aim to publish in December 2019.

When the changes will apply

There will be a two-year transition period, starting from October 2019, to make the necessary changes to prepare for the new rules.

From October 2021 these rules will apply throughout the UK.

The 14 allergens: quick reminder

The EU Regulation on Food Information for Consumers, which came into law in 2014, lists 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients.

These are:

Nuts (Namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, Macadamia or Queensland nut), Peanuts, Eggs, Milk, Fish, Crustaceans, Molluscs, Cereals containing gluten (namely wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), barley, rye and oats), Celery, Lupin, Mustard, Sesame seeds, Soya, Sulphur dioxide (when added and  above 10mg/ kg in the finished food and drink).

More information

Please check food.gov.uk for further information on these changes for the FSA’s resources and Detailed Technical Implementation Guidance.

You can register on Smarter Comms to receive updates

If you have a query, please contact: FoodIntoleranceEnquiries@food.gov.uk or speak to your Local Authority