Specified allergenic ingredients - commonly asked questions
There is a list of 14 specific food allergens including eggs, fish, peanuts and milk. In general, prepacked food and drink are required to have these specified allergens identified in the labelling. Where the allergenic ingredient is clearly identified in the name of the food (such as 'prawn cocktail') or it is similarly identified in the 'ingredients' list by the use of its name, no further information is required. When labelling, best practice advice is for plain language to be used in the listing of ingredients - for example, 'milk protein' rather than 'casein'.
In the guide
What are the 14 specified allergenic ingredients?
Which categories of food require specified allergens to be identified in the labelling?
Which categories of ingredients are covered by these requirements?
How should the allergenic ingredient be indicated on the label?
Best practice advice is for simple language to be used in the listing of ingredients, such as 'milk protein' instead of 'casein'.
Dependent upon the space available in the ingredients list, the allergenic ingredient(s) can be identified thus - for example 'whey (from milk)', 'couscous (wheat)'.
Where more than one ingredient contains the same allergenic ingredient, it is acceptable to identify them by the use of asterisks linked to a single source ingredient at the end of the ingredients list - for example '* from soya'. However, where there is more than one source ingredient, such as soya and eggs, confusion could arise by using this method.
Alternatively, a separate 'allergens' information' box/panel may be used to indicate which specified allergens are present:
There are specific requirements for the composition and labelling of 'gluten free' and 'low-gluten products'. Further information on the labelling of 'gluten free' foods can be found on the Food Standards Agency website. These requirements apply to both packaged and loose food, such as that sold through catering establishments.
What about foods where ingredients are not normally listed?
What about other foods that are currently exempt from ingredients listing?
Last reviewed/updated: June 2014
Northumberland County Council, Trading Standards Service, Loansdean,
Morpeth, Northumberland NE61
2AP Copyright © Northumberland County Council Trading Standards
Copyright © Northumberland County Council Trading Standards Service 2006