Food allergen information and pre packed for direct sale (PPDS)
Food allergies are a type of food hypersensitivity that can have a serious or even fatal effect on consumers. Providing food allergen information for consumers is a legal requirement for food businesses.
Food allergen information for consumers
In England the legislative framework around the provision of food allergen information is largely contained in Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC) and the Food Information Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1855) as amended.
It is a legal requirement that food allergen information is accurate, available and easily accessible to the consumer.
Food Business Operators (FBO) must know if any of the 14 allergens listed below are used as ingredients in the food they provide:
- Cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats)
- Crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters)
- Molluscs (such as mussels and oysters)
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).
This also applies to additives, processing aids and any other substances which are present in the final product.
Pre packed for direct sale (PPDS)
From 1 October 2021 businesses must provide an allergen label on food that is pre-packed for direct sale. It applies where food which is packaged at the same place it is sold or offered to consumers and is also in its packaging before it is ordered or selected.
The food label must contain the following information:
- the name of the food
- an ingredients list
- any of the 14 allergens emphasised in the ingredients list, if these are present in the food.
This change will help consumers to make safer choices.
Failure to comply with any allergen provisions may result in a business being served an improvement notice or a criminal prosecution being brought against a food business or FBO.
The following external links offers information on how food businesses can meet their obligations.
Further information on PPDS can be found on the Food Standards website.