Trading Standards
People with food allergies have to take great care when eating out to avoid certain foods that could cause
them harm. As a business you have a legal obligation to ensure that any food you produce or prepare is safe.
These are the 14 allergens that you need to find out whether they are in the food that you make. Consumers
may ask about other ingredients, but these are the ones you have a legal obligation to know whether they
are in the foods that you make.
How the information can be supplied
The information can be supplied on the menu,
on chalk boards, tickets or provided verbally by
an appropriate member of staff. It must be clear
and conspicuous, not hidden away, easily
visible, and legible.
If the information is to be provided verbally by a
member of staff then it is necessary to make it clear
that the information can be obtained by asking a
member of staff by means of a notice, menu, ticket
or label that can easily be seen by customers.
It is no longer enough for businesses to say that they
do not know whether or not a food contains an
allergen and deny any knowledge, nor is it enough
to say that all their foods may contain allergens.
Allergen information must be specific to the food,
complete and accurate.
As a food business operator you cannot refuse
to provide specific allergen information on
foods served. You also cannot give incorrect or
misleading information on a menu or through
verbal communication.
Although there is a legal requirement to give all
information about the allergens that are within the food
you produce, there is no legal requirement to give
details of any cross contamination of allergenic
ingredients. As a business however you have a
responsibility to assess the allergens that are used on
the premises and reduce the likelihood of any cross-
contamination. This leaflet is aiming to help you identify
the allergens that you use as ingredients as well as
reducing cross-contamination in non-allergenic foods.
The risk assessment has been divided into three
sections covering Overall Management & Training,
Kitchen Procedures and Front of House. This will allow
you to assess whether the controls you currently have
in place are effective and if any improvements can
be made to ensure that the food you serve is safe.
If you are not certain that you can provide food that
is suitable for someone with a food allergy then you
should tell them, so they can then decide whether or
not to eat the foods you provide.
Food Allergen Risk
Assessment For Caterers
Food Allergens
Risk Assessment
From December 2014 there will be a legal obligation to supply information to consumers
on the allergens that are in the food that you produce.
An example of the wording:
Food Allergies and intolerances:
Please ask a member of staff if you require
information on the ingredients in the food we serve.
Peanuts Nuts Crustaceans
(Shellfish)
Molluscs
(Shellfish)
Fish Eggs Milk
Cereals
containing
Gluten
Soya Sesame
seeds
Celery Mustard Lupin Sulphur
Dioxide
Training should include the following:
a) Train staff about the risks of providing the wrong information or
serving food containing an ingredient that a customer is allergic to.
b) Ensure Staff have access to and know where to find information on
which foods contain allergens.
c) Implement Kitchen procedures to prevent cross-contamination
during storage, and preparation of food.
d) Identify customers with food allergies when they book a table, or
when staff take orders (e.g. menu reminders).
e) Develop a system for waiters to alert kitchen staff that the food they
are to prepare is for somebody who is allergic to certain ingredients.
f) Have procedures in place to deal responsibly with a customer
complaint over concerns that their food may be contaminated with an
allergenic ingredient. Staff should not just remove the ‘offending’ allergen
from a prepared dish and send it back on the same plate, because
traces of the allergen will remain which could cause a reaction
Overall Management & Training
Kitchen Procedures
Assessment Questions
Management
Training
Action Points
1. Do you have a written
policy on food allergies
and intolerances?
Yes No
You should consider the following:
a) Identify the allergen risks
b) Decide who is to have overall management responsibility for
allergens and food safety.
c) Ensure training is given to all staff (both permanent and temporary)
d) Ensure there is always a trained member of staff on duty during
opening hours
e) Plan how to minimise the risks
f) Display notices to remind staff of the risks.
g) Plan how to communicate the risk between members of staff, and
to customers.
2. Have all kitchen staff
received food allergen
awareness training?
Yes No
3. Have front of house staff
received food allergen
awareness training?
Yes No
4. Is there always a member
of staff available who
knows what allergens
are in which meals?
Yes No
Good Practice
Ensure all training given to staff is recorded and kept on file and that
refresher training is given on a regular basis.
Allergenic Ingredient Identification
5. Which food allergens do you handle? (or see diagram on page 1)
Peanuts
Nuts including
almonds, hazelnuts,
walnuts, cashews,
pecans, Brazil nuts,
pistachios,
macadamias, and
Queensland nuts
Sesame seeds
Fish
Eggs
Milk
Soya
Lupin
Celery
Crustaceans
Molluscs
Mustard
Cereals
containing
gluten: wheat, rye,
barley, oats, spelt,
kamut and their
hybridised strains.
Sulphur dioxide
and sulphites often
expressed as SO2,
used as a
preservative and
often found in wine
and dried fruit.
Continued on next page
a) Contact your supplier for the information, and make sure they
understand why you need the information.
b) Ensure they provide you with clear information and that they update
you should the ingredients or their processing change.
c) Think about how you can make staff remember to check for
allergenic ingredients in new or replacement ingredients.
d) Ensure that your suppliers only supply you with food labelled in
English
e) If you change your recipe or the ingredients used, ensure you update
your allergen information and communicate this to all your staff.
6. Have you checked for
allergens in ingredients you
use? Including checking the
labels of prepared food,
sauces, and seasoning mixes?
Yes No
7. Does your supplier provide
you with adequate labelling
information?
Yes No
8. Do you check to see if any
substituted items that have
been delivered contain
allergenic ingredients?
Yes No
9. Do you record any of
the above checks?
Yes No
Good Practice
You should consider how you would be able to demonstrate what
steps you have taken to ensure allergen information is available to
consumers and how you will prevent allergen cross contamination.
For example:
a) Written records
b) How frequently are records made?
c) Who checks information is being recorded correctly?
Assessment Questions Action Points
Allergenic Ingredient Identification continued
Which food allergens
do you handle?
a) Identify all the allergens in each ingredient and decide how you will
control their use, and prevent cross-contamination.
b) Prepare a list of all of the meals that contain those allergenic ingredients
c) Make a specification folder containing information for each item on
the menu and the allergens it contains including the source of the
allergen (i.e. the ingredient)
Important
It is important to think about all of the ingredients that are used i.e.
what garnishes are used, what is used to thicken sauces, what oils
are used such as sesame oil and nut oils.
You need to take steps to ensure this is carried out so you can
comply with the legislation. You need to be able to provide this
information to consumers.
Storage
10. Do you have a storage
system to prevent cross-
contamination of ingredients
with other ingredients
containing allergens?
Yes No
11. If you transfer ingredients
from packaging into storage
containers or fridges/freezers,
do you have a procedure for
retaining product information
such as date codes, batch
codes, allergen information?
Yes No
a) Store ingredients containing allergens in a separate area or if this
isn’t possible, store on lower shelving
b) Use a colour code system to identify ingredients containing
allergens.
c) Have a spillage plan in place to clean up allergenic ingredients.
d) Ensure that if any ingredient is decanted into a separate container
that all the product information including allergens is also
transferred
Continued from previous page
This leaflet has been produced with kind permission of Northamptonshire and Essex County
Council Trading Standards.
Copies are available from Suffolk County Council Trading Standards Service
After completing the risk assessment and you feel that your business needs more advice please contact Suffolk
County Council Trading Standards Service (01473) 264859 and see
www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/allergyintol/guide/
Suffolk County Council, Trading Standards – Landmark House, 4 Egerton Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 5PF
Front of House
14. Do you have procedures
for informing customers
about dishes that contain
particular allergens
Yes No
15. Do you ensure that
information is available and
customers know where to
find it (menu/staff/notice)?
Yes No
a) Decide how you will communicate allergen information to your
customers
b) If all the information is to be provided next to each dish on the
menu, make sure that this includes all of the allergens as per your
specification folder
c) Have a system in place to make sure that your menu is always
up to date
d) If you are relying on your front of house staff to communicate
allergen information to customers, ensure that your staff have
full access to all the information they need
e) Have a system in place to make sure you communicate any
changes to your staff and that the place where they are getting
the information from is also up to date and accurate
Look out for these FSA chef cards as
customers may show them to you
Important
It is a legal requirement to provide information on foods that
contain allergens. You need to decide whether you are putting all
the information on your menus, a notice or having the information
available from members of staff.
You could also consider putting the information on your
website as well.
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www.food.gov.uk/multimedia
/pdfs/chefcard.pdf
Preparation
12. Do you follow any
procedures when
preparing food for a
customer with a food
allergy?
Yes No
13. If yes, have you considered
all aspects listed in the
right hand column?
Yes No
a) Check ingredient labelling for allergenic ingredients.
b) Ensure that when preparing all foods, that care is taken to ensure
that no cross contamination can occur between foods containing
allergens and foods which are allergen free
c) Where possible use separate equipment & utensils and separate
preparation areas for allergen and allergen free foods. If not possible,
thoroughly clean equipment/ utensils/ surfaces between uses.
d) Make sure that thorough cleaning takes place before and after
handling and preparing different foods
e) Verify that all food handlers follow adequate hand-washing procedures.
f) Don’t re-use cooking oil, if there is a possibility that nut proteins/fish
proteins/gluten will still be present. If possible have a separate pan
or fryer for allergen and allergen free foods
g) Take steps to prevent cross-contamination when food is served
in a buffet style
Kitchen Procedures continued
Assessment Questions Action Points
Assessment Questions Action Points
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