The 14 Major Food Allergens

If you are one of approximately two million people in the UK with a food allergy, you might recognise your allergen in the pictures below. These are the most common food allergens. If used as an ingredient, you can expect any of these 14 allergens to be highlighted in the ingredients list when you buy pre-packaged food and drink. If you have a serious allergy, don’t forget to always check ingredient labels, even if it’s a product you’ve eaten before or eat regularly. Click on the picture of each allergen below to find out more about it, its use as an ingredient, and how to avoid it.

Labelling food allergies

The way the information is communicated to the customer depends on what kind of business they are (e.g. retail or catering), and how the food is presented.

The rules differ depending on whether the food they sell is:

  • Prepacked (for example, labelled food sold at retail).
  • Non-prepacked/loose food (for example food sold in restaurants and takeaways, or packed at the customer’s request, such as at in-store bakery and delicatessen counters).
  • Prepacked for direct sale (for example, sandwiches prepared and wrapped on-site in a cafe).


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