Food regulation

Allergen labelling – does it make sense or not? We have the most important answers!

What is the issue?

In 2011, new food regulations were enacted (No. 1169/2011), which have been in force since 13 December, 2014. For packaged goods, these regulations have already been in force since 2005. These regulations are now also being extended to non-packaged “loose goods”.

How are the EU regulations to be implemented?

The EU Commission is of the opinion that this information should be passed on to your guests in writing. That is not, however, necessary. In Austria, information about it may also be provided verbally. However, please bear in mind: written documentation is to be kept for all food and drinks, and it should be evident from the documentation, upon request, which ingredients you have used and which allergens are contained in them.

With us you have the opportunity to record your recipes along with the ingredients and print out your menu showing the allergens. Naturally FoodNotify also complies with the requirement for written documentation. However, you then do not have your folder sitting in a kitchen drawer, but have it on hand, nice and clean, available whenever you use your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Of course you can print out the documentation at any time.

Do I have to inform the guest in writing or verbally?

Essentially it is you who decides. What is important though, is that there are people at your establishment who are sufficiently trained and can provide information. With FoodNotify you can, however, inform your guests in a much better way, and you can be certain that the information that you have checked is correct. You cannot always rely on staff 100 percent!

What does this person have to know, and what can that look like in my business?

Your employees need to be acquainted with all 14 allergens and be able to provide information on which allergens are to be found in the meals.

The following is to be kept in mind:

  • Your employees need to be trained.
  • The training has to be conducted at your establishment by an allergen specialist, or your employees need to take part in training provided externally.
  • The allergen specialist will be either the CEO, the site manager, a managing director, the chef, the service manager or simply someone who has made an effort to learn about the subject. This person should also be able to instruct others in your business.
  • Any attendance at training courses needs to be proven. The same goes for your employees. Also here, written records need to be kept of who attended which training and when. The training course must be repeated every three years.
  • A competent and trained contact needs to be available during the opening hours.
  • In addition, if you provide verbal information, you need to include the following note on your menu or anywhere in the restaurant where everyone can see it: “Dear Guest, We will be pleased to inform you about the ingredients in our meals from an allergenic perspective”.

This is all too much work for me; I would prefer to do it in writing.

That is what we actually recommend, just like the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. It is much easier to implement, and you will also be asked less questions by your guests. That will then not hold you up during the day-to-day business and when you are serving guests, and your guests will feel good, because they will see that you are looking after them.

How can I get it done in writing?

The simplest way is to write it directly on the menu and drinks list. With FoodNotify you enter your standard menus and menus of the day into an ingredients list. FoodNotify has over 950,000 ingredients listed in the database, and those that contain allergens can be displayed. That means that you simply, without any fuss and bother, select your ingredients, until your dish is covered, you save your dish, and the allergens in your dish are displayed to you immediately. You can, after that, print out your menu with your logo the way you like it.

We know from our experience that, depending upon the ingredients, you need 4-6 minutes to enter the ingredients of each dish. For 30 dishes, that means about two hours’ work done once – which is actually within reason. This is how you can enter the ingredients of your standard menu quickly and efficiently. You do not need to fear any fine being imposed by the authorities. If you would like to add or change ingredients at a later date, you can do that at any time.

Naturally FoodNotify will also supply you with the required key and footnotes at the same time. The following note needs to be included in your menu, in any event:

“Allergen information as recommended by the code.” You can, however, also decide in favour of the labelling that the Austrian Ministry of Health recommends or use icons.

Particularly important are also the menu of the day, the weekly menu and the drinks menu. The same rules apply here as to the standard menu.

You will find everything that you need for labelling in compliance with the law at FoodNotify.com. Try our services free of charge. We are certain you will become a happy FoodNotify customer, saving you a lot of bother, and especially time.

What else is to be noted?

To secure your position in regard to any liability claims, you should put the following on all your menus and drinks list that contain information on allergens:

Additional information:

  • If the designated substances or any products made from them are contained in the end product as an ingredient, they will be named.
  • The 14 allergens are indicated on our menus in accordance with the statutory regulations (EU Regulation on Food Information 1169/2011). There are, besides, a few other substances not covered by those 14 allergens which could cause food allergies or intolerances.
  • In spite of taking great care in producing our meals, besides the ingredients, labelled traces may be found in our meals of other substances that are used in the preparation of our meals.