CHURCHES, schools, and community centres that provide meals or
other foods as part of a café or lunch club will have to provide
information about any allergens contained in the food when new
regulations come into force on 13 December.
The new rules, which apply to both commercial and not-for-profit
food sales, require information about 14 specified allergens to be
displayed on a menu or noticeboard, or included in an information
pack. The regulations are comprehensive: people ordering takeaway
food over the phone should be told about any allergens in the food
before the purchase is complete, and told again in writing when the
food is delivered.
The new rules require detailed records to be kept of all the
ingredients in a recipe, including the ingredients of any bought-in
products, such as sauces or mixes, that are used. The information
provided must be specific: it will not suffice to say that a food
item might contain allergens.
"Allergic reactions can make people very ill, and can sometimes
lead to death," the Food Standards Agency says in its guidance.
"However, there is no cure for food allergy. The only way someone
can avoid getting ill is to make sure they don't eat the foods they
are allergic to. If you work with food, it is important to take
food allergy seriously."
Breaches of the regulations can be punished with fines of up to
The specified allergens
Celery: often found in soups and stock cubes.
Cereals containing gluten - including wheat: found
in foods containing flour such as breads, batter, pasta, and
Crustaceans: including crabs, lobsters, prawn, and
scampi - often found in shrimp paste.
Eggs: including foods brushed or glazed with
Fish: often found in stock cubes and salad
Lupin: including seeds and flour, found in some
breads, pastries, and pasta.
Milk: including butter, cheese, and cream, and food
glazed with milk.
Molluscs: including mussels, land snails, squid, and
whelks - often found in oyster sauce.
Mustard: including liquid, powder, and seeds, often
found in bread, curries, marinades, salad dressings, sauces, and
Nuts: can be found in breads, biscuits, ice cream,
marzipan, nut oils, and sauces - often used in Asian dishes and
Peanuts: found in biscuits, cakes, curries, and
sauces, includes groundnut oil and peanut flour.
Sesame seeds: found in bread, hummus, sesame oil, and
Soya: found in beancurd, miso paste, and tofu; often
used in desserts, ice-cream sauces, and vegetarian products.
Sulphur dioxide: a preservative in dried fruit, meat,
and soft drinks, as well as wine and beer.
Source: extracted from Food Standards Agency