Allergy Labelling Coming Soon. More Legislation to Swallow

Food standards agency infographic Allergens

If you click on this image, you will be given a full size version, which can be printed for display in your licensed premises

The new EU regulation on displaying allergen information will come into effect on 13th December. Whilst outlets serving food appear to be coping with the upcoming changes, many publicans appear to be unaware that beer and wine will also be covered by this legislation.

Why is this new legislation happening?

The legislation is intended to help customers make safe choices when eating and drinking out. Such rules have been in place for pre packed foods for the past nine years and these are now being rolled out to include non pre packed foods. Evidence has shown that people with allergies are still having reactions to foods when they eat out, meaning that many simply never eat out, for fear of this happening.

What are the allergens?

A total of 14 allergens are included in the regulations, theses are:

  • cereals containing gluten (for example wheat, rye, barley and oats)
  • crustaceans,
  • fish,
  • eggs,
  • molluscs,
  • soya,
  • nuts,
  • peanuts,
  • celery,
  • mustard,
  • sesame seeds,
  • sulphites,
  • lupin flour.
Food standards agency infographic Allergens

If you click on this image, you will be given a full size version, which can be printed for display in your licensed premises

How will this affect me?

Customers eating and drinking out will have the right to ask for information on the ingredients contained in the dishes and in particular if any of the above allergens have been used. The onus is entirely on the venue to provide this information, which is enforceable by local authority fines of up to £5,000.

What if I don’t serve food?

The new laws also extend to drink, therefore pubs and bars will have a duty to provide exactly the same information for beer and wine.

The main allergen for beer is gluten where barley, wheat and other cereal products are often present; whereas for wine the biggest culprit is sulphites.

Steve Livens, policy manager at the British Beer and Pub Association said

‘if a customer asks for allergen information there has to be some way of communicating that. In terms of draught beer that means on the pump clip, in the menu or verbally……Pump clips are probably the way forward – there is space on the back where the tasting notes go that could include allergen information.

A spokeswoman for the FSA said pubs would need to ‘signpost written or verbal information’ for beer and wine served in a glass’

For help and advice, check out the following;

http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Legislation/Restaurants-step-up-preparations-ahead-of-EU-allergen-labelling-law

https://www.instituteofhospitality.org/news/2013/october/are_you_ready_for_new_food_labelling_laws

https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/food-allergen-labelling-technical-guidance.pdf