Food safety

Food allergens

The Food and Safety team ensure all food business are aware of their responsibilities and comply with legislative requirements by providing information to consumers on allergen ingredients used in their foods. 

New legislation, which will require food businesses in Scotland to include the product name and full ingredients on food sold prepacked for direct sale (PPDS), comes into force on 1 October 2021 in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Find out more on the Food Standards Scotland website.

On 13 December 2014, legislation came into force, requiring food businesses to identify the 14 recognised food allergens associated with foods they handle and prepare. 

The 14 allergens (and products thereof) must be labelled or indicated as being present in foods. These allergens are:

  • cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat (such as spelt and khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats
  • crustaceans for example prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish
  • eggs
  • fish
  • panuts
  • soybeans
  • milk (including lactose)
  • nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia/Queensland)
  • celery (including celeriac)
  • mustard
  • sesame
  • sulphur dioxide/sulphites, where added and at a level above 10mg/kg or 10mg/L in the finished product, this can be used as a preservative in dried fruit
  • lupin - which includes lupin seeds and flour and can be found in types of bread, pastries and pasta
  • molluscs like, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid

Labelled Foods

The allergenic ingredients must be emphasised using a typeset which clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the ingredients, for example by means of the font, style or background colour. Food businesses can choose what method they want to use to emphasise the 14 allergens on their product label. Find out more about food labelling.

Foods sold loose or prepared on the premises.

Where foods are offered to sale to the final consumer without packaging, or where foods are packed on the sales premises at the consumer's request or prepacked for direct sale, information about allergenic ingredients is mandatory and must be provided.

Allergen information must be provided for non-prepacked foods in written or oral formats with clear signposting to where consumers can obtain this information, when it is not provided upfront.

For more information on food allergens and your business requirements, visit the Food Standards Scotland website.

Future Changes

Future changes to the legislation from October 2021, the way food businesses must provide allergen labelling information for packaged foodstuffs made on site and sold directly from the premises will change. Foods will need to have a label with full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it. These changes will provide essential information to help people with a food allergy/intolerance to make safe choices when buying packaged food that is made at your food business. The name of the food must also appear on the product.


If you think you have a food allergy or intolerance, then it's important to get a proper diagnosis. Don't cut food groups out of your diet without medical advice, because you could miss out on important nutrients.

The Food Standards Agency has a guide to help you to buy food safely when you have a food allergy or intolerance.

Further guidance