This information is to help businesses and consumers understand the new allergen labelling requirements that will apply from 1 October 2021.
These changes will help protect food hypersensitive consumers by requiring more types of food to have potentially life-saving allergen information provided on the label.
In readiness for these changes, businesses should check if the new labelling requirements affect them and what they need to do to comply.
New food labelling requirements
The new allergen labelling requirements will apply to a category of food called prepacked for direct sale from 1 October 2021.
This is food which is packaged at the same place it is offered to consumers. The food should also be in the packaging before it is ordered or selected.
It can include food that customers select themselves, as well as pre-wrapped products kept behind a counter. It can also include some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets.
Businesses can check exactly which products will be affected by using the resources provided by the FSA to ensure they meet the requirements.
Why the changes to allergen information are being introduced
At present the allergen information for these products can be provided by any means. This includes being informed verbally by staff.
Governments across the UK have decided that these foods will need to have ingredient and allergen information provided on the label from 1 October 2021.
This follows the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had an allergic reaction caused by a baguette which did not require allergen labelling at the time.
Prepacked for direct sale food
Prepacked for direct sale food is determined by three criteria:
- when it is packaged
- where it is packaged
- how it is packaged
Each of these criteria has to be met for food to be classed as prepacked for direct sale and for the new labelling requirements to apply.
When it is packaged
Prepacked for direct sale food is packaged before the consumer selects or orders it.
Any food that is not in packaging when it is ordered, or is loose and is packaged after being ordered, is not included.
Where is it packaged
Prepacked for direct sale food is packaged at the same premises or at the site it is offered or sold to consumers.
- food packaged by the same food business and sold at a temporary or mobile site, such as a food truck or market stall
- the same food packaged and offered at different units in one building complex, such as an airport or shopping centre.
All food products sold through distance selling (such as over the internet or by telephone) already requires allergen information to be provided before food is ordered and when it is delivered. This will not be affected by the new regulations.
For more information see distance selling in the Food allergen labelling and information requirements technical guidance.
How it is packaged
Prepacked for direct sale food is in packaging which meets all of the following criteria:
- the food must be fully or partly enclosed by packaging; and
- the food cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging in some way; and
- the food must be ready for final sale to the consumer.
Check what is prepacked for direct sale food
To help businesses and consumers check what types of products are affected, we have produced:
- an allergen and ingredients food labelling decision tool
- a prepacked for direct sale flow chart (from the Technical Guidance)
- examples of PPDS food
- updated food allergy and intolerance training
Food businesses should check the FSA’s food allergen labelling technical guidance for more information on the requirements for all types of foods.
New information required on PPDS labels
All prepacked for direct sale food will need to have a label showing:
- the name of the food
- a full ingredients list with the 14 allergens required to be declared by food law emphasised on the ingredients list if present.
Businesses and consumers can find out more about the 14 allergens which must be declared in food law.
An example of a prepacked for direct sale food label:
In Wales, food labels can be provided in Welsh as long as the information is also provided in English.
Further information on the labelling requirements can be found in the Food allergen labelling and information requirements Technical Guidance.
How to meet the requirements
Food businesses need to check if they sell or supply prepacked for direct sale food and find out what they need to do before 1 October 2021.
The FSA has updated our allergen guidance for food businesses to include the new requirements. More information is available in food allergen labelling and information requirements – Technical Guidance
This will allow businesses to understand how the regulations will affect them and how to ensure they are compliant. The FSA also has information on allergen labelling for food manufacturers.
The allergen labelling requirements are outlined in the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulations.
Examples of prepacked for direct sale foods
Below are common examples of prepacked for direct sale food which will require the new additional labelling. We have also included some examples of food which is not affected.
Examples of food which is prepacked for direct sale
- Sandwiches packaged by the food business and sold or offered from the same premises.
- Fast food which is wrapped or packaged before a customer selects or orders it.
- Bakery products which are packaged before a customer selects them.
- Supermarket products which are produced and packaged in store, such as pizzas, rotisserie chicken, pre-weighed and packed cheese and meats and baked products.
- Free samples of cakes if they are packaged at the premises.
- Food packaged and sold by the same business at a market stall.
- Burgers and sausages packaged by a butcher on premises for sale.
For single ingredient products which are prepacked for direct sale, and have allergens present, such as a bag of peanuts or a box of eggs, only the product name is required as long as the product name clearly refers to the allergens contained. Otherwise the allergens must be listed as well.
Prepacked for direct sale food provided in schools, care homes or hospitals and other similar settings will also require labelling.
Examples of food which is not prepacked for direct sale
Food not in packaging
- Food which is loose before a consumer selects or orders it, which is then packaged afterwards.
This is loose food, such as deli sandwiches, unwrapped pick ‘n’ mix sweets, counter served popcorn and fast food which was not packaged at the point it was ordered. Allergen information must still be available for consumers.
- Food offered or sold by a different business to one which packaged it.
- Food offered or sold at a different location to where it was packaged.
This is prepacked food, such as chocolate bars, crisps and biscuits. These already require full ingredient and allergen labelling as well as nutritional information declaration.
- Food which is delivered or ordered online, by mail, or by telephone.
This is distance selling. This includes food such as delivery pizzas and takeaway food. Allergen information must be made available before the food is purchased and at the point of delivery