Some people are hypersensitive to certain foods and can suffer adverse reactions, which for some can be life threatening. Food hypersensitivities include food allergies, food intolerances, and coeliac disease.

To inform allergic consumers, food allergen labelling is mandatory. Pre-packed food or drink that contains any of the 14 regulated food allergens used as ingredients or processing aids must be declared and emphasised within the ingredients list on a food label. There are different allergen labelling requirements for food sold loose (e.g. catering) or when sold pre-packed for direct sale (which is regulated via Natasha’s Law).

Food and drink manufacturers are very aware of the risk to consumers of food allergens, therefore take steps to manage unintended allergen presence and to control cross-contamination. When it comes to allergen risk communication, only after a thorough risk assessment, where there is a demonstrable risk of unintentional presence that cannot be removed through appropriate controls, should precautionary allergen labelling (e.g. 'may contain <allergen>') be used.

The FDF assists the UK food industry through its provision of technical guidance on allergen labelling and management (e.g. gluten labelling, free-from allergen claims and vegan claims). We also support progress towards agreement of reference doses/thresholds to enable quantitative risk assessment for food allergen management.

Updates & milestones

FDF Guidance on 'Allergen'-Free and Vegan Claims

In February 2020, the FDF Guidance on 'Allergen'-Free and Vegan Claims was published. This UK best prectice guidance aims to inform both the wider food industry and consumers as to the difference between 'allergen'-free claims (e.g. milk-free) and vegan claims.

Each claim communicates to different consumer groups, with only the allergen absence claim being food safety information.

Food and Drink Technologist / Scientist of the Year – Entries are now open!

Do you know a Technologist or Scientist who has made an exceptional contribution to the food and drink sector?

Nominate them for the FDF Food and Drink Technologist / Scientist of the Year award before 28 February 2022. It’s completely free to enter!

View the full criteria

Find out more about the FDF Awards

New food safety courses for autumn!


The FDF is delighted to partner with Essential Food Hygiene to offer a range of training courses food safety.

The courses are all fully accredited, and delivered online via an easy to navigate website and compatible with all mobile devices.

Courses include:

  • Level 2 allergy awareness (updated with Natasha’s Law)
  • Levels 1,2 and 3 food hygiene and safety
  • Level 2 HACCP

Find out more and register

Terms and conditions

Contractual notes
The FDF is an affiliate marketer for Essential Food Hygiene, this means we receive a small commission from your fee at no additional cost to you. Your training contract is with Essential Food Hygiene and the FDF cannot be responsible for issues including but not limited to course content; website maintenance; delivery or scheduling or payments and reimbursements. Any disputes, questions or queries must be addressed to Essential Food Hygiene not the FDF.

To make your booking you will be entering a third party website (Essential Food Hygiene). Any data entered is processed in accordance with Essential Food Hygiene’s own policies. Data is not handled or stored by the FDF.

Contact details: Essential Food Hygiene Ltd; Lodge House; Cow Lane; Burnley, Lancashire BB11 1NN

Pre-Packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) Allergen Labelling Guidance

As of 1 October 2021, any FBOs selling Pre-Packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) foods in the UK now has to include full ingredients lists (inc. emphasised allergens) on the product label.

To support impacted FBOs, in July 2021 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched a PPDS Hub, featuring new labelling guidance for PPDS foods and sector specific guides (i.e. bakery, butchers, fast food and takeaways, mobile sellers, restaurants, cafes and pubs, and schools).

Then in early August 2021, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) published its PPDS webpage and new guidance on labelling of food sold PPDS.

What is PPDS food?
Prepacked for direct sale or PPDS is food which is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in this packaging before it is ordered or selected. It can include food that consumers select themselves (e.g. from a display unit), as well as products kept behind a counter and some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets.

FSA Food Hypersensitivity (FHS) Programme Update & Final Report from Science Council Working Group 5 (WG5) on Food Hypersensitivity

The following papers were disucssed at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Board meeting on 16 June 2021: Food Hypersensitivity (FHS) Programme Update, Final Report from Science Council Working Group 5 (WG5) on Food Hypersensitivity and FSA’s Response.

The FSA consider that its FHS programme remains on track to deliver to agreed business plan milestones for FY21/22, and that the current programme activity is focused on: 1). Improving our understanding of FHS; 2). Working with stakeholders and supporting businesses; 3).  Supporting FHS consumers; and 4). Engaging internationally.

The Final Report from Science Council WG5 on FHS (June 2021) identified the research priorities for the FSA over the next 5 years in the area of FHS, which were developed via a Priority Setting Exercise (PSE) with wide stakeholder input. It also identified a series of future priorities in a 5 to 15-year timeframe, which was based on a horizon scanning workshop that took place in March 2021. 


The FDF publishes guidance on 'Allergen'-Free and Vegan Claims

The FDF has today published 'FDF Guidance on 'Allergen'-Free and Vegan Claims'.

Read more

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Gluten labelling guidance

This UK best practice guidance aims to provide advice to food business operators, irrespective of size, on how to label food products that include cereals containing gluten through review of the relevant EU and UK legislation and guidance.



Guidance on “Free-From” allergen claims

This best practice guidance, jointly developed by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and British Retail Consortium (BRC), provides regulatory advice to food manufacturers and caterers on the appropriate use of “free-from” claims in relation to food allergens.

Related topics


Food safety and science

Ensuring food is safe is our number 1 priority. The provision of safe, authentic and traceable food is of the highest importance to our sector.


General food labelling

Food labelling is an important means of providing essential information to consumers. This includes details on a food’s ingredients, composition, durability, storage and preparation requirements, any safety related information and identification of the manufacturer.