22nd June 2017

Allergens in a nutshell: A practical guide to Allergen Compliance for Food Businesses

Posted by: Cater Care

Sinéad Fox, Managing Director of Cater Care provides information on allergens and allergen compliance in food businesses.

EU law states that the use of 14 specific food allergens in producing or preparing a food or beverage must be declared. These 14 food allergens are specified in the Food Information for Consumers (FIC) Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 which came into effect in December 2014.

In Ireland, national legislation stipulates that food allergen information for non-prepacked food must, at a minimum, be provided in written format to the customer.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland provide a useful online information document “Allergen Information for Non-Prepacked Food”.

In May 2017, the FSAI conducted an audit of 50 food service businesses to determine if correct written allergen information was being provided to consumers. 88% of food businesses audited had findings that required corrective action.


By simply providing written information to the customer in relation to the presence of allergens in the food and beverages that are sold un-packaged!

The template above is a clear and visual method of listing each dish and ticking any of the 14 listed allergens contained therein.

This can be used by food businesses to capture and track the information required for menu boards, allergen booklets, websites, menu boards, etc.

The starting point of this compliance exercise is to review all recipes of dishes and products and ensure they are standardised i.e. prepared/made using the same ingredients all of the time.

The label of each food ingredient within each dish must be analysed and allergen information captured (this is where the allergen checker template is useful!).

Once the allergen checker is completed by ticking all allergens in the dish, then the information can be transferred to the relevant location as the written food allergen information.


  1. Cereals containing gluten
  2. Crustaceans and products thereof
  3. Eggs and products thereof
  4. Fish and products thereof
  5. Peanuts and products thereof
  6. Soybeans and products thereof
  7. Milk and products thereof
  8. Nuts, namely: almonds, hazelnuts , walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia or Queensland nuts and products thereof
  9. Celery and products thereof
  10. Mustard and products thereof
  11. Sesame seeds and products thereof
  12. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/ kg or 10 mg/litre
  13. Lupin and products thereof
  14. Molluscs and products thereof

Should you require information or assistance to ensure allergen compliance, Cater Care’s Allergen Experts can help you become compliant!

To speak about this further please call 061 469008 or email sinead.fox@catercare.ie

Request a call back!

For more information on training or consultancy for your business, fill in the form and we will give you a call!