In December 2014, new legislation came into force that requires all food business operators to provide allergy information regarding the food they sell which is unpackaged. The Food Information Regulations 2013 lists 14 ingredients that can cause a problem for people who are allergic to them.

While we are all used to seeing information about allergens on packaging, the way in which the information is presented is changing. The other major change is that the new regulations also cover "loose foods", this includes takeaways of all types, meals served in catering premises (such as pubs and restaurants) and items in shops that are served loose from deli counters.

Food business operators will be required to display food allergens on the menu, or if you choose not to put it on the menu you must clearly signpost where this allergen information can be obtained. There must be a 'statement' as to where that information can be found - such as in a handbook, by asking staff, or on websites.

There will also be changes to existing legislation on labelling allergenic ingredients in pre-packed foods.

The Food Standards Agency has produced a booklet that explains what action businesses need to take. The booklet Allergen information for loose foods can be downloaded from their website.