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Food allergy and intolerance advice for consumers

Food allergy and intolerance

Learn about the 14 regulated allergens and what allergy information food businesses must provide to you.

Last updated: 21 February 2024
See all updates
Last updated: 21 February 2024
See all updates

It is important that you have the information you need to make safe food choices. 

That’s why there are allergen labelling and information laws that require food businesses to provide you with information about what is in your food. 

If you feel ill or have an allergic reaction after eating, you should seek medical help immediately. The NHS has information on what to do in the event of an allergic reactions.  

If you have an allergy and have an Adrenaline Auto-Injector (AAI), it is important to carry it with you. It is important to use an AAI if an allergic reaction is suspected. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has more information on AAIs and how to use them

We are responsible for allergen labelling and providing guidance to consumers with food hypersensitivity (food allergy, intolerance and coeliac disease). Our allergy alert service is part of this responsibility. You can subscribe to this service and receive notifications when we publish allergy product recalls. 


The 14 regulated Allergens

In the UK, food businesses must inform you under food law if they use any of the 14 regulated allergens as ingredients in the food and drink they provide.  

Food law identifies the following 14 allergens as the most potent and prevalent: 

  • celery 
  • cereals containing gluten (such as wheat, rye, barley and oats) 
  • crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters) 
  • eggs 
  • fish 
  • lupin 
  • milk 
  • molluscs (such as mussels and oysters) 
  • mustard 
  • peanuts 
  • sesame 
  • soybeans 
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) 
  • tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts)
If you are allergic to ingredients not included in the 14 allergens, you should always check the label or ask staff for information about your specific food allergen. 

Allergy alerts

We work with local authorities, the food industry and consumer organisations to make sure consumers are aware of missing or incorrect allergen information on food products.  

We issue a food alerts service so that you can make safe food choices. 

You can sign up to allergy alerts to receive a free email or text message each time we issue a recall. You can choose to get alerts for all allergens, or specific alerts for your food allergy. This will include information about what to do if you have bought the product that is being recalled. 

Allergy, intolerance, and coeliac disease organisations

There are many organisations and charities that can support you with living with a food allergy, intolerance, or coeliac disease. These include: