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Understanding the Food Information Regulations: Food Service Menu

Understanding the Food Information Regulations.
View our annotated food menu to understand how the Food Information Regulations affect your business and how you should produce food menus for your business.

EU law requires food manufacturers and food service businesses to ensure their products and menus are labelled with specific information with regards to nutrition, composition, advertising claims and more.

DWF has produced interactive labels showing the key areas to consider to remain compliant. As always the devil is in the detail of the Regulations, they need to be reviewed fully to determine how the specifications impact your product.

Please note: The information given in this interactive tool does not constitute legal advice. If you would like more information please get in touch.

1 Allergens which must be declared

Have you thought about...

  1. How you will communicate allergens to customers – orally or in writing?
  2. How you will demonstrate the process for communicating allergens in writing - e.g. matrices, recipe indexes, menus?

The following allergens must be declared:

  • cereals containing gluten: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut;
  • crustaceans;
  • eggs;
  • fish;
  • peanuts;
  • nuts;
  • soybeans;
  • milk;
  • celery;
  • mustard;
  • sesame seeds;
  • sulphur dioxide;
  • lupin; and
  • molluscs.

Note: Some substances derived from an allergic ingredient are exempt from the requirement to declare because they are so highly processed they won't cause an allergic reaction. For example, fully refined soya oil or wheat glucose syrups.

Non pre-packed food must also now carry an allergen declaration. For guidance on how this may be done please see point 2.

2. Labelling

Allergen declarations must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden away. They can be easily visible, legible and accurate.

Information can be given for the entire dish or with components separated to give customers more choice. For example BBQ Chicken Burger without coleslaw for a customer allergic to mustard:

BBQ Chicken Burger and coleslaw (Chicken burger: wheat; BBQ sauce: celery, fish; Bap: wheat, eggs and sesame; Coleslaw: egg, celeriac, mustard).

A variety of methods to declare allergens are permitted - on menus, chalkboards, tickets, labels, orally...

Availability of oral advice should be signposted by a written notice that is clearly visible when the customer chooses food.

Oral information must be verifiable in writing, for example, in a recipe book, ingredients charts and matrices. This is not only to help staff and customers, but also supporting evidence for any defence.

It's not sufficient to say all foods 'may contain allergens'!

To do:

  1. Prepare a dated written record of the allergen information for each dish, for example, in a chart or matrix, or an ingredients information sheet so that records can be checked retrospectively. New records must be prepared every time the menu changes.
  2. Consider whether the chart can be made available to customers on request.
  3. Train staff and ensure they always have the most up to date information on dishes and allergens.
  4. Consider putting allergen data on the website.
3 Lot Mark

Chalkboard writing: food Allergies & Intolerances. Before you order your food and drinks please speak to our staff if you have a food allergy or intolerance. There may be a risk of cross contamination which could affect those with severse allergies.

Have you thought about...

Whether 'may contain' is really required – will this help or hinder allergy sufferers' choice?

Whilst every care will be taken to avoid cross contamination for food safety purposes, such as by separating areas for raw and cooked meats, it is rarely practicable in a commercial kitchen to engineer out all risk of cross contamination of allergens.

For example, most kitchens will not have enough fryers to separate dishes that are deep fried with gluten containing ingredients, such as breaded or battered dishes using wheat flour, from deep fried gluten-free dishes.

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Find out more

If you have a question or would like more information please get in touch.

Follow our DWF Food Sector LinkedIn or our Twitter account @dwf_food_law to keep up to date with all of the latest developments in the sector.

Or why not sign up to recieve our weekly Food & Retail Regulatory update which uses a traffic light system to sort all of the week's regulatory developments in order of importance.

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