The FSA guidance explains the main changes and obligations introduced under the new legislation, which will come into force across the EU, including the UK, in December.
Mandatory obligations for foodservice businesses include:
- Allergen information should be easily accessible, visible and clearly legible
- Where it isn’t practical for this information to be in a written format, businesses should use clear signposting to direct the customer to where this information can be found, such as asking members of staff.
- Allergen information should be made available for the entire dish served, and where food is provided in a buffet format, it should be provided for each item separately.
- Businesses providing allergen information orally from a member of staff must ensure it is consistent, accurate and verifiable upon challenge. Verification of this information should be provided in written form.
The guidance also includes details on the scope of each of the 14 allergenic ingredients covered by the new legislation: gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame, sulphar dioxide and sulphite, lupin and molluscs.
Ben Hood, chief executive of hospitality management business Fourth, said this new guidance would also help operators prepare for the changes.
"It’s imperative that all eating-out businesses make sure they read the guidance, and fully understand what is required of them," he said. "Dealing with costly legislation that adds complexity to foodservice businesses is a requisite part of the skill set for the successful operator.
"As ever, planning and preparation will be key – eating-out businesses should start preparing now, to minimise any business risk."