Ordering takeaway food

If you have a food allergy, it is important to take extra precautions when ordering takeaway food that you will be collecting or having delivered. This is covered by ‘distance selling’ regulations and the rules about how allergen information is provided are a little different than if you are eating in or buying pre-packaged foods with labels. 

When providing food through distance selling, businesses must be able to give allergen information about any of the 14 major food allergens in the foods they sell, whether that is ordered through an online platform or app, or over the telephone. 

Allergen Information

The allergen information must be available to you at two stages through the ordering process.

  • Prior to the point of ordering – this can be given verbally or in writing (for example in an online menu)
  • At the point of delivery – this can also be given verbally or in writing (for example, stickers on packaging, or a written menu with allergen information in the bag).

Food delivery apps

If ordering via a third-party delivery app, ALWAYS phone the food business too. It is the responsibility of the food business, and not the delivery company to give you accurate allergen information. Different delivery apps vary in how much information the food businesses that use them can provide about allergens. Even if allergen information is listed in the app, phone the food business too to confirm nothing has changed and the food is still safe for you. 

Ordering takeaway food

Here’s some tips to help you prepare and stay safe.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Always phone the food business in person to discuss your allergy requirements. NEVER rely on notes or messages relayed online or through third party apps that may get missed.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Ask about the dish/es that you would like to choose and if they are suitable.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Ask about ingredients, how the food is prepared and whether cross contamination with your allergens is likely. If the person sounds unsure and you feel the risks are high, it may be best to try somewhere else.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Ask how the food will be packed for delivery. Will it be in a bag with other people’s orders? If there’s a risk of cross contamination it may be safer to collect the food yourself.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Be aware that recipes can vary from one food business to another and even in the same chain. Just because you’ve eaten something on one occasion and have been OK, doesn’t mean the dish is necessarily safe next time. ALWAYS check!
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Ask how your allergen free food will be labelled (e.g. stickers, or written on the packaging). If the allergen information is not clear when you receive the food, do not eat it. Phone the food business and ask for a refund.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon If you’re ordering for friends and family in the same order, consider making the whole order free from your allergen to avoid any confusion.
  • right_arrow_orange_icon Before you eat, make sure you have your medication with you, that it’s in date and that you know how to use it.