Allergen Awareness

Changes to the information that food businesses must give their customers came into effect on the 13th December 2014. The EU food information for consumers Regulation (EU FIC) came into force and as a caterer, it is your legal responsibility to give accurate allergen information to customers.

List of allergens

 Are you aware of all 14 Allergens?

Do you know which of these are in your ingredients? 

Your supplier must provide you with this information, but make sure you get the full list of ingredients with every order, in case anything has changed.

 How do I give the information to my Customers?

You can put the information on the menu, but if you regularly change your ingredients, or if you make specials which don’t appear on the menu, this will be difficult. You could put the information in a loose-leaf binder for your customers to view or for your staff to refer to when asked. If you choose to provide the information only on request, you must have a prominent written statement or notice to let customers know they can ask a member of staff for allergen information. You should have prepared accurate written information, so make sure your staffs refer to this when customers ask about allergens. 

How Should I Keep the Information?

You need to decide what works best for your business, but you should have a system for preparing the information and you should make sure someone has responsibility for the system. 

Avoid Allergen Cross Contamination?

  1. Providing accurate information about allergenic ingredients is only useful if you keep out unwanted contamination.
  2. Inform and train staff about allergens.
  3. Think about the type of oils (such as groundnut oil or sesame oil) and salad dressings used. If cooking in oil consider the food that was previously cooked in the same oil (i.e. Onion bhajis or fish that has been coated in flour containing gluten).
  4. Make sure work preparation surfaces are cleaned thoroughly.
  5. Use utensils and equipment that are free of the allergen and are washed thoroughly prior to use, or use separate utensils.
  6. Be aware that wiping or rinsing frying pans and woks is unlikely to remove all traces of an allergen.
  7. Do not store allergenic foods and ingredients near to other foods.
  8. Consider the type of flour used for rolling out dough or pastry, e.g. a gluten free pizza or pastry being rolled out using flour containing gluten. 

How about allergen training?

Your staff should be appropriately trained and aware of safe ways to prepare and handle food. In line with this, UKHSE are now offering the CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Allergen Awareness course which you can book online at

The CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Allergen Awareness has been designed to help food handlers to:

  • understand the impact of food allergy and intolerance
  • identify, manage and control the risks associated with food allergens
  • apply the principles of practical allergen management to develop good practice in the workplace
  • provide allergen information, with confidence.

Who needs this qualification?

Everyone who prepares, serves or sells food in any type of food business needs to:

  • be fully aware of the foods that may trigger an allergic reaction and
  • know what precautions need to be taken to ensure that customers do not eat a food that they are trying to avoid.

Why is this qualification important?

Developing food allergen awareness is key to complying with the Food Information Regulations 2014 and improving business. Customers need to be confident that the information provided is complete and correct and the food that is served or sold is safe to

Please call on 0207 954 9218 or 01622 474160 to reserve your place or email us at >This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Article written by Trevor Tweed - Consultant UKHSE Limited

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