“Declaring allergens in your food products”

Share Share on FacebookShare on Twitter As a food business operator, you can declare information related to allergen content in your food product through various options. This article...

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As a food business operator, you can declare information related to allergen content in your food product through various options. This article makes special emphasis on how to communicate the food allergen information for non pre-packaged food products to your consuming audience.This article is aimed at information to ease allergens declaring

It is envisaged that there are a number of ways in which a food business can comply with this requirement and so each business must examine the options available and determine which is most suitable to their situation. Food allergen information can be communicated verbally at any time.

However, the minimum requirement set out in the national measures is that written food allergen information is provided to the consumer or mass caterer. The written information must be presented in at least the English language and be easily located and accessible. It must clearly identify the allergens contained in a food or beverage in legible hand written or printed format.

Here are certain examples to give you an idea on the same depending on your business type:

1. Retail outlets:

As the owner of a retail shop or supermarket, you sell a variety of non pre-packaged foods such as bread, salads and hot food items. You can provide written food allergen information for individual food products in close proximity to the individual food item containing allergen or at a centralised location. However, if provided centrally, it should be available at one or a number of locations easily identified by consumers through conspicuous signage on the premises.

2. Other food outlets – food stalls, markets:

If you own permanent or temporary stalls or markets, whether stationary or mobile, then you must provide written food allergen information as a minimum requirement. Placing the written food allergen information in close proximity to the relevant food items or on a menu style format may be most convenient and effective mode to communicate the food allergen information.
3. Distance food seller:

Food ordered remotely (electronically/by phone) and delivered to the consumer should provide written food allergen information which includes food businesses that receive food orders by phone or electronically and deliver those foods to the final consumer. Written allergen information can be provided before the food is ordered, e.g. supporting material such as leaflets/catalogs or online information used to order the food. Alternatively, or in addition, it can be provided at the moment of delivery of the food product, e.g. leaflets/catalogues or other printed material. Written food allergen information provided at the point of delivery could be specific to the purchased product or it could be general supporting material. Where the written allergen information is provided prior to delivery, allergen information must still be provided at the point of delivery. Such information can be provided verbally or in a written format.

4. Licensed premises:

Allergen declarations for non pre-packed beverages could be provided in a number of ways, e.g. wine lists could include sulphite information on certain wines, while allergen information for other beverages, e.g. cocktails, could be provided adjacent to or as an addition to the price list at a conspicuous location(s) on the premises. The precise allergen information required must be in the form of “Contains…”.
Some cocktails or other mixed drinks may only be prepared in direct response to an individual request and may not be included in the regular drinks list. In such cases, it may not be feasible to provide written allergen information. However, the inclusion of any allergens should be communicated directly to the consumer before the sale is concluded.
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