Food allergy awareness

As a customer what do I need to know about food allergens?

All food business including restaurants and take-aways in the UK must inform customers if any of the 14 allergens listed in law are in their food. It is the businesses’ responsibility to tell you, and there needs to be signs inviting you to ask. This applies to pre-packed food and websites too.

If you have a food allergy or are ordering food for someone who has an allergy or an intolerance, please do ask. It is the business’ legal responsibility to give you correct information.

The 14 main allergens are:

  • Celery, cereals containing gluten – including wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats,
  • Crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs – such as mussels and oysters
  • Mustard
  • Tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)

Find out more about allergies on the Food Standards Agency website.

We have seen an increasing number of cases of allergic reactions in recent years, especially in children and young adults. This is an area where more research is needed and why we support the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation.

Allergy alerts - If you have a food allergy, it is important that you can trust the food you are buying. To help keep you up to date with the latest alerts sign up to receive free allergy alerts.

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