Fork lifting pasta out of bowl

The 14 Major Allergens and Food Safety

Food Law sets out the guidelines and rules on allergen labelling and managing food preparations around allergens in the United Kingdom. Our article on allergen guidelines for food businesses breaks down the requirements. 

 The 14 major allergens must legally be displayed on all pre-packaged and non-prepackaged food and drink, and this is where LiberEat’s Allergen Error Detection Technology comes in.

Allergen and Food Safety - Industry Challenges

Clearly displaying allergen information is important for consumer health and trust. This also helps businesses reduce risks associated with incorrect or missing allergen labels. Keeping up with current legislation, such as Natasha’s Law (where relevant), monitoring vast amounts of allergen data, minimising human error in the checking process, and avoiding legal and reputational issues can be overwhelming. 

This is why LiberEat exists. Our allergen error detection technology acts as a second layer of defence across current systems managing allergen, ingredient, and recipe data. Food businesses do not need to learn new systems, new complex software, or technology jargon. 

LiberEat’s technology collects the data, identifies errors, and provides solutions, and your team can learn the platform in a matter of minutes.

The 14 Major Allergens and Food Safety

European Union law defines the 14 main allergens as the primary causes of allergic reactions with the public. Food businesses must legally display them on packaging labels, menus, chalkboards, or information signs.

According to Allergy UK, 20% of the UK population suffers from one or more allergies. Allergic reactions range from mild to severe and can cause fatalities in the worst-case scenario. The best way for consumers to protect themselves from allergic reactions is to avoid allergen triggers.

This is why allergen labelling is so important and why LiberEat created our allergen error detection technology. Consumers need accurate allergen and ingredient information to make informed decisions and protect themselves effectively.

Food safety, technical and quality assurance leaders are constantly improving allergen awareness and prevention following current legislation surrounding the 14 major allergens, Natasha’s Law, and Owen’s Law campaigns growing momentum. 

LiberEat’s mission is to “Make Food Safer for Everyone”, and we do that by supporting food businesses in their crucial allergen error detection processes. 

The 14 Major Allergens recognised in the UK are: 

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently recognises 9 major allergens, those being milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean shellfish, and most recently, sesame.

Close up photo of a dish containing celery

Food Safety Compliance

There are many hazards related to food allergen detection. For example, several names for the same allergen, general miscommunication, and human error can lead to incorrect allergen labelling. Allergens may be missed during each stage of the quality assurance and food safety process, whether working with food in manufacturing, production, catering, food service, restaurants or retail.

Certain allergens, such as sulphites, can be identified by their full name or E number, such as sodium sulphite (E221). Allergen labelling law requires the allergen to be emphasised  (usually in bold, italics, or contrasting colours) on ingredient lists. However, due to the processes between manufacturers and food businesses, allergens could be misidentified. Therefore, sodium sulphite may be listed solely as ‘E221’ and could be missed via human error during the information transfer stages. 

Miscommunication among Food Safety, Quality Assurance, and marketing teams can result in allergen misinformation reaching consumers which puts individuals with food hypersensitivity in danger.

Copywriters unfamiliar with proper allergen identification and surrounding food law may accidentally misidentify allergens or ingredients on menus or on websites. Thereby receiving the correct information but inappropriately modifying it unbeknownst to the businesses and to the detriment of consumers. LiberEat’s allergen error detection technology can detect these errors that may be overlooked. 

Unintentionally overlooking information can lead to not labelling mustard in a honey and mustard chicken recipe. These genuine mistakes can have large consequences, from injury to consumers and legal and reputational costs to the business.

LiberEat’s Allergen Error Detection Technology

LiberEat’s innovative allergen error detection technology identifies missed errors and incorrect information on allergen labelling. Increasing security for businesses and protecting consumers by identifying errors in allergen labelling before they impact the consumer. 

We assist restaurants, caterers, food producers, manufacturers, and supermarkets with food safety compliance by working with their Food Safety and Quality Assurance teams. Our goal is to help food businesses maintain high standards of food safety.

By working alongside Food Safety and Quality Assurance teams at restaurant chains and caterers, food producers and manufacturers, and supermarkets, LiberEat’s technology works with food businesses to meet their food safety compliance needs.

Our technology constantly monitors and reviews system data to ensure all allergen information is accurate and up-to-date. Therefore minimising the risk of human error operational costs, and giving you the peace of mind of knowing that you are providing consumers with highly accurate, current information. LiberEat’s technology keeps up with changes in the industry to ensure you are meeting all the current legal requirements without worry.

LiberEat can identify food allergens, such as gluten-free or dairy-free products, and whether products are vegan or vegetarian. Therefore, it highlights important opportunities for businesses to highlight that in their labelling.

Restaurant table with cheesecake and ice cream dessert

Minimising the risk for food businesses

Food allergen rules and regulations continue to change and evolve. Food businesses must be vigilant when working with ingredients containing allergens to protect food-hypersensitive consumers and exercise due diligence when providing ingredient and allergen information to consumers. 

LiberEat offers a second line of defence for food businesses by detecting errors, allergens, and other harmful ingredients with our proprietary food safety technology. Food businesses can apply this technology directly to identify errors in allergen communications, preventing the risk of injury. Contact us today to learn more about our allergen detection technology.

LiberEat Allergen Detection Technology is a SaaS platform that provides an allergen safety blanket for food businesses. It ensures that consumers are safe and healthy when consuming their food dishes and products.

To find out how LiberEat Technology supports food businesses to detect allergens and errors, to protect consumers