North Yorkshire businesses selling meals, snacks and over-the-counter foods are being advised to prepare for new labelling laws that will come into force later this year.
North Yorkshire Trading Standards says the new legislation, the Food Information for Consumers Regulations, will require all relevant food businesses to be able to advise customers whether their foods contain any of the 14 recognised allergens to which that some people are allergic.
The allergens include peanuts, other tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, molluscs, mustard, milk, soya and some types of seeds and cereals.
After the new labelling requirements come into force on 13 December 2014, consumers will have the right to request this information before ordering food. Businesses will have to be able to supply the information without delay.
The legislation is designed to ensure consumers can make an informed decision, safe in the knowledge that they are avoiding a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to one of the ingredients.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for Trading Standards, said: It is vitally important that food businesses within the county are ready for this change. It will give consumers who suffer from food allergies the confidence to eat out knowing the restaurants or cafés they visit are able to advise fully on the composition of the food they supply.
Further guidance for businesses is available on the Foods Standards Agency website, www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/allergy-guide, by emailing email@example.com or telephoning the Trading Standards business advice line on 01609 534868.