Food Allergens Is Your Business Compliant

A recent audit by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found that an ‘unacceptable’ amount of Irish food businesses fail to provide accurate written information on the 14 allergens specified by legislation with respect to non-prepacked food. As the report noted that confusion and lack of awareness by business owners were two significant reasons for the lack of compliance, we thought it timely to offer some insight into the reasons for the enactment of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 and how Irish food businesses can meet their obligations. 

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 was enacted to protect consumer health by establishing general principles, requirements and responsibilities for food information and food labelling within member states. A component of the Regulation specifies compulsory declaration of 14 specific food allergens, should they appear as ingredients within a food item. They are: 

  1. Cereals containing Gluten
  2. Crustaceans
  3. Eggs
  4. Fish
  5. Peanuts
  6. Soybeans
  7. Milk
  8. Nuts
  9. Celery
  10. Mustard
  11. Sesame Seeds
  12. Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites
  13. Lupin
  14. Molluscs

Declaration can either be on a food packaging label (with resepect to pre-packed foods), or by supplemental written documents such as a menu or allergen declaration (with respect to non-prepacked foods). 

In Ireland approximately 5% of children and 3% of adults suffer from food allergies. Food allergy occurs when the immune system responds to a food that the body incorrectly recognises as harmful. Antibodies are produced as part of this response and a complex chain of events occur, leading to the release of inflammatory substances such as histamine. This histamine release causes the symptoms of allergy including lip, eye and face swelling, nettle-sting-type rash or hives, vomiting or tummy pains. In its' most severe form, allergy can cause life-threatening anaphylaxis. Differing from a food allergy, is a food intolerance. An intolerance to food is rarely life threatening and tends to occur hours or days after the food is eaten. The symptoms are generally described as an unpleasant reaction to a food involving for example, tummy cramp, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhoea (INDI, 2017).

Given this background, food businesses have a serious responsibilty to protect consumer health and wellbeing by providing accurate and updated allergen information. We at healthpro, through our Menu Mentoring® programme, help a range of European food businesses to attain full compliance with Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 through the compilation of detailed food allergen listings and menu labelling solutions. In tandem, our partners have also been empowered to capitilse on a unique opportunity to market their menu based on its' allergen and nutritional composition. With a sizeable number of consumers’ subject to allergic and intolerant responses to food and a growing sector opting for lifestyle dietary modifications, new markets exist for businesses willing to invest in professional analysis and labelling services. Increase your presence in the food sector by contacting us on +35386 4119222 or by email on 


Published on 7 June 2017 | Back to June Articles