Food companies that produce, manufacture or package food within the UK have been given clear guidance from the Food Standards Agency about the information that is required to be included on a food label. This information helps people that have food allergies, intolerances or dietary needs to make safe and informed choices when they are choosing food items.
Food labelling legislation
These allergens represent the most common sources of severe allergic reactions in individuals, and food labels in the European Union (EU) must clearly indicate their presence to help consumers with allergies make informed choices and avoid allergens that could cause adverse reactions. Consumers may be allergic or have intolerances to other ingredients, but only the top 14 allergens are required to be clearly highlighted (for example in bold type) declared as allergens by food law. For more information on food allergy click here.
New legislation, which came into force on 1 October 2021, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’ now also requires businesses to label all food that is pre-packed for direct sale (known as PPDS) with a full list of ingredients and the 14 allergens emphasised in bold.
(‘May contain…’/’Made in a factory…’ labelling statements)
Currently there is no law to recommend when these statements should be used on a food product. There is large variation between products but generally snacks and dry foods such as cereals, cereal bars, chocolate, biscuits and nuts are at greater risk of crosscontamination with allergens. Some people with food allergy will need to avoid products that include these precautionary statements. Guidance on the need to avoid foods these statements should come from a healthcare professional.