Category Archives: The Law

Updates on the law

Accurate and accessible allergen information

This feature will keep you ‘up-to-date’ with any developments / changes in legislation and how these changes will impact food service businesses on a day-to-day basis.

We liaise closely with DEFRA, the Food Standards Agency, local enforcement officers from Environmental Health and Trading Standards to ensure our training materials are accurate and timely.

In the first Bulletin we talked about allergenic ingredients that have to be declared for all non-pre-packaged foods which include dishes sold and / or served in hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafés, school canteens, hospitals, at wedding functions, etc…and also to foods sold loose in bakeries, sandwich bars, over deli counters, meat sold over butchers’ counters…and so on. Below is an example of what a sales ticket / label might look like on a deli counter or possibly in a baker’s display cabinet. There are obviously many ways to present this information, but the important thing to remember here is that the allergen must be clear and accessible to the consumer.

Example of a food label

Some establishments might choose to only display the name of the product on the sales ticket / label in which case the allergen information must be declared verbally by the salesperson prior to selling the product to the consumer. This declaration is also necessary if the allergen information is not displayed in writing at the point where food is served to a wedding guest in a marquee – the waiting staff must deliver the information verbally. In practical terms this means everybody within the organisation; or all those temporary employees hired by the caterer must know every single ingredient that goes into every single food item they sell or serve – that’s an almost impossible task unless you sell / serve a limited range of loose items. For example an Ice Cream seller in his or her Ice Cream Van might just be able to remember what goes into their soft scoop ice cream and flake since the rest of their items are sold pre-packaged and therefore the manufacturer should have clearly declared any allergens present on the packaging label.

14 EU Allergens

Restaurants, hotels, canteens and other such establishments can choose a variety of different ways to deliver this information. The chosen method will often be determined by the cost to the business, especially where there are pre-printed menus involved. What’s certain is that establishments will require a dynamic means of updating information and also updating those people charged with delivering the information, especially if their supply chain amends products / raw ingredients at short notice.

Investing in the right training that is appropriate to your business needs is vitally important. The training product must be cost effective; demonstrate longevity; be easy to follow for all members of staff; provide due diligence; and protect your business in the eyes of the law and the consumer. Droppa and Droppa’s training product presents a common sense approach, providing practical advice and solutions that will save you both time and money.

Just when you thought you’d cracked the labelling requirements for gluten free, the EU has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it intends to allow two new labels on foods for people intolerant to gluten. The use of the terms ‘gluten-free’ and ‘very low gluten’ remain unchanged, but you will now be able to use additional statements in conjunction with the ‘gluten-free’ and ‘very low gluten’ declarations. These additional statements are as follows:

‘Suitable for people intolerant to gluten’ – this statement is not to be used in place of the terms ‘gluten free’ or ‘very low gluten’, but can be used alongside these terms;

‘Specifically formulated for people intolerant to gluten’ – this can only be used if the product is specially produced to either: reduce the gluten content of gluten containing ingredients (i.e. gluten-free wheat starch); or where the manufacturer has substituted the gluten containing ingredients with other ingredients naturally free of gluten.

Ingredients are not enough….


This feature will keep you ‘up-to-date’ with any developments / changes in legislation and how these changes will impact food service businesses on a day-to-day basis.

We liaise closely with DEFRA, the Food Standards Agency, local enforcement officers from Environmental Health and Trading Standards to ensure our training materials are accurate and timely.

The 13th December 2014 deadline for compliance with the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 is rapidly approaching. This new regulation marks a turning point in allergen labelling, which has been mandatory for pre-packaged food since the end of 2005. As of 13th December 2014 allergenic ingredients will also have to be declared for all non-pre-packaged foods which includes dishes sold and / or served in hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafés, school canteens, hospitals, at wedding functions, etc – it will also apply to foods sold loose in bakeries, sandwich bars, over deli counters, meat sold over butchers’ counters and so on.

Essentially, the regulation is attempting to make it easier for consumers to access accurate, detailed information about the ingredients present in the food they buy. So, whether the consumer is browsing supermarket shelves, eyeing-up a sticky bun in the baker’s shop or sitting down to lunch in their favourite restaurant – the process of obtaining information should be readily available. Not all establishments will adopt the same method of information delivery. For pre-packed foods with an ingredients list the allergenic ingredients will need to be clearly declared and emphasized within the ingredients list. For foods that are not pre-packed, such as from bakeries, deli counters and in catering, information on the allergenic ingredients will have to be provided. There is flexibility in the way in which this can be done; for example the information can be on menus, tickets, noticeboards or given orally by staff. If the business chooses to give the allergen information orally, staff will need to be trained in how to provide and / or access information when asked. Some establishments nominate a member of staff (often the manager on duty) as the so called ‘expert’ in all matters relating to allergen management.

Sue Hattersley is Head of Food Allergy at the Food Standards Agency and a much a respected voice within the industry – Sue puts it very simply:

“Under the new rules, businesses must say whether an allergen is used or not in the food they’re selling.”

It’s essential you make the right decisions for your business and also ensure that you communicate effectively with your customers. Indeed, the decisions you make today in respect of your allergen management can have long term cost implications. Investing in the right training that is appropriate to your business needs is vitally important. The training product must be cost effective; demonstrate longevity; be easy to follow for all members of staff; provide due diligence; and protect your business in the eyes of the law and the consumer. Droppa and Droppa’s training product presents a common sense approach, providing practical advice and solutions that will save you both time and money.