There is a legal requirement in the UK and within the EU to declare 14 intentional allergenic ingredients in food and drink to consumers. We discuss fascinating facts and figures to help better understand the risk associated with each food allergen.
Celery and celeriac food allergies are common in Europe. Severe reaction usually occurs after eating raw celery1.
Cereals containing gluten
Children are more likely to have a wheat allergy than adults with most reaction affecting the skin2,3.
Egg allergy is more prevalent in children and often begins in the first year of life4,5.
Fish allergy is more common in adults with salmon, tuna and halibut causing the most cases of allergic reaction.
Around 50% of people with people can react to lupin6.
The law does not define the animal origin of milk because mammalian milk proteins found in cow, sheep and buffalo have a similar structure. Milk implicated as the biggest cause of fatality in children due to an allergic reaction to food.
Allergic reaction to mustard in the UK is rare, but more common in mainland Europe.
Peanut allergy affects 1 in 50 children in the UK with 1 in 5 never outgrowing their sensitivity to this food allergen.
Around 1 in 100 people in the UK have a sesame food allergy.
Molluscs include bivalves (e.g. mussels), Cephalopods (e.g. squid) and Gastropods (e.g. periwinkles and snails).
People may be allergic to more than on crustacean. The majority of crustaceans are caused by prawns, crab and lobster.
Soya is commonly used as an ingredient processed foods.
Sulphites and Sulphur Dioxide
Sulphites are preservatives used in food and drink to enhance flavour, improve colour and extend shelf-life. There is legal requirement to declare sulphur dioxide or sulphites at levels above 10mg per kg or 10mg per litre.
Tree nuts that must be declared by law include almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew nut, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut, macadamia nut or Queensland. Sensitivity to tree nuts usually occurs before 5 years of age but can also develop in older children and adults7.
PPDS /Natasha’s Law
All staff involved in the preparation and serving of food must be competent in providing accurate information about allergenic ingredients in food and the risk of allergen cross contact to consumers. From 1st October 2021 new legal obligations for allergen labelling come into force with a full ingredients list and allergenic ingredients emphasised on pre-packed for direct sales (PPDS) product. Commonly known as ‘Natasha’s Law’ will only apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These labelling requirements do not apply to PPDS food sold via distance selling, such as over the phone or internet orders.
Percipio Training can help your team understand the legal requirements for managing the risk of food allergies and intolerances. We offer Highfield accredited food allergen awareness and management training courses remotely or in the classroom.
- Level 2 Award in Food Allergen Awareness and Control in Catering
- Level 3 Award in Allergen Management for Caterers
Managing allergenic hazards are also covered on all Food Safety and HACCP courses. Contact now to find out help we can support your team.
- Anaphylaxis UK (2014). Celery Allergy: The Facts. [Online]. Available at: https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Celery-version-9-formatted-with-changes-to-terminology-re-pollen-food.pdf
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (2016). Wheat Allergy. [Online]. Available at: https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/wheat-gluten-allergy
- University (2018). Cereals. [Online]. Available at: http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/foodallergens/allergycause/cereals/
- Anaphylaxis UK (2018). Milk Allergy. [Online]. Available at:https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Egg-2016-V5-with-Info-Std-Logo.pdf
- Manchester University (2018) Milk and Egg. [Online]. Available at: http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/foodallergens/allergycause/milkandegg/
- Manchester University (2018). Celery. [ Online]. Available at: http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/informall/allergenic-food/?FoodId=56
- Allergy UK (2018). Tree nut allergy [Online]. Available at: https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/conditions-and-symptoms/36-types-of-food-allergy#download_access