All food retailers, manufacturers and importers are responsible for managing the presence of allergens in food. Food businesses must meet the labelling requirements set out in Standard 1.2.3 (Mandatory Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations) of the Food Standards Code.
In particular, the Food Standards Code requires all food businesses in NSW to provide information about the nine most common allergens and sulphites (which are added to food as a preservative) on food labels of packaged foods. The ten most common allergens are:
- tree nuts
- sesame seeds
Food businesses in NSW must provide allergen information in food by either:
- declaring allergens on the label (usually in the ingredient list)
- displaying information about allergens next to food on sale (if it’s not packaged)
- providing information about food allergens in food if requested by a customer.
If a business doesn’t provide this information, or if an allergen is found in food that was not declared on the label, they may be breaking the law.
Key points for managing allergens
Food retailers and manufacturers
Food retailers, including cafés, restaurants and pubs etc., are legally required to help customers with food menu choices by providing information on allergens that may be present directly or indirectly in food items.
Food retailers must ensure accurate information is on a label of packaged food, or provided verbally by staff selling unpackaged food made on the premises, should a customer ask for it.
For both food retailers and manufacturers, it's important to:
- implement an effective allergen management plan
- train staff in food allergen risks, management and communication
- provide clear and accurate information on the allergen status of your product
- manage the unintentional presence of food allergens.
Food importers are responsible for ensuring imported food is properly labelled and for providing clear and accurate information about the allergen status of their product.
For importers, it's essential to:
- provide clear and accurate information on the allergen status of the imported product
- ensure their imports are properly labelled.