The new legislation is the Food Information for Consumers Regulations and will come into force on 13 December 2014.
It will change the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is pre-packed, sold loose or served when eating out.
If any of 14 listed allergens are used as ingredients in a pre-packaged food, they will need to be emphasised on the label. Businesses can choose the method of emphasis e.g. by listing them in bold, italics, highlighted or underlined. The information about allergenic ingredients must be located in a single place, i.e. the ingredients list on pre-packed food. This means that the voluntary use of the current types of allergy boxes (such as: ‘Contains nuts’), will no longer be allowed.
If any of the 14 allergens are used as ingredients in loose foods (those that can be bought without packaging) for example in supermarkets, delicatessens, cafes and restaurants the information will also need to be provided.
Food producers will need to comply and if they wholesale products make sure they facilitate the compliance of their clients.