New regulations which make food labels clearer and improve nutritional and allergen information for consumers came into force in December 2014.
The Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIR) made changes to the details food businesses must legally give their customers about the food they sell or produce, and the way this information is provided.
Advice about how the main changes to food labelling affect your business and resources, and to help you comply with requirements relating to allergens can be found via the Food Standards Agency FSA). The FSA also offer a Food labelling elearning course relevant to consumers and caterers. We have also outlined the most significant changes below.
Providing information on allergens
Businesses selling loose food
From 13 December 2014 restaurants, cafes, hotels, sandwich shops, takeaways, bakeries, delicatessens etc will have to provide accurate information on specific allergens that are present in the loose food and meals that they serve. They are no longer be able to say that they don’t know if any of these specific allergens are in the food.
'Allergen Information for Loose Foods' details the ways that businesses can give allergy information to their customers. We recommend that businesses also consider 'allergen cross contamination' and train their staff about food allergens. The Food Standards Agency provide an online course to assist with this.
Manufacturers and packers selling food to other businesses
Food that is manufactured or packed will have to be labelled in accordance with EU Regulation 1169/2011. Changes include a minimum print size for labels, declaration of nutrition information (from 13 December 2016) and declaration of the type of vegetable oil used.
The main change is how allergens are declared on packaged food. Specific allergens will need to be identified in the ingredients list and an allergy box will no longer be permitted for this. Further information on these changes are given in the booklet 'Allergy - What to consider'.