Guidelines on the requirements of food allergen labelling and how they apply to the manufacturing industry. Food allergens used as ingredients or processing assistants must be stated on the pack or at the point of sale. Check the Food Information Regulation for European Union (EU) Users No. 1169/2011 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 78/2014. Food should not be placed on the market if considered to be harmful to health.Further guidance on allergen labelling across the United Kingdom is available on GOV.UK
How to label allergens
Products that contain allergens can be labelled in a number of ways. For example, you can list them in bold, in a different colour or by highlighting them. Annex II of the Food Information Regulation for Consumers of the EU (EU FIC) guideline lists the main foods that can cause an allergic reaction. If your product contains any item on this list, it must be included on the label.
Here's an example of how to list allergens on your product:
Ingredients: Water, Carrots, Onions, Red Pulses (4.5%), Potatoes, Cauliflower, Chicken, Peas, Corn Flour, Wheat Flour, Salt, Cream, Yeast extract, Concentrated Tomato Paste, Garlic, Sugar, Celery Seed, Sunflower Oil , Herbs and Spices, White Pepper, Parsley.
Allergenic ingredients must be stated by clearly referencing the allergen as listed in the Food Information Regulation for EU Users, to ensure clear and consistent understanding.
Examples of ingredients that need to refer to the allergen are:
- tofu (soya)
- tahini paste (sesame)
- whey (milk)
A statement that gives advice about allergens can also be placed on the product label to explain how allergen information is presented on the label, for example:
- 'Advice on allergens: to see the allergens, see the ingredients in heavy print'
- Advice on allergens: to see the allergens, including gluten-containing cereals, see the ingredients in red'
In terms of alcoholic beverages where there is no list of ingredients present, allergens can be identified using the words 'including' and then the name of the allergen.
There is an explanation of the Food Information Regulation for EU Users No. 1169/2011 including the EU Commission Delegated Regulation No. 78/2014 in the technical notification on labelling allergens in food.
Allergen labelling when manufacturing
If there is a risk of allergen-transplanted food products, the label should include one of the following statements:
- it could include X
- It is not suitable for an individual with an allergy to X
Allergen warning labels should only be used after a thorough risk assessment when there is a real risk of contamination of allergens and can not be removed from allergens. 'Loose' labelled foods (free-from) 'Free' foods are a special collection of foods that have been produced without allergens. If a label indicates that your product is 'free from milk' or 'no peanut' (peanut free), it must be based on strict control measures. This includes checking that all the ingredients and packaging materials do not contain the specific allergen, and that measures are in place to prevent cross-contamination of other foods that are prepared on site.