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Items not covered by the Labelling Directive

Foods sold loose

The Labelling Directive only covers pre-packaged food. This means that foods sold loose or from catering outlets are not covered by current allergen labelling rules. These foods represent a considerable risk to allergic consumers. That is why EU has proposed new legislation, which also will cover non pre-packed foods.

The UK Food Standards Agency has developed some guidelines for the catering industry on this topic. The British Anaphylaxis Campaign has created a website “Catering for allergy” with guidance for caterers.


Allergens can enter foods inadvertently through, for example, the use of common processing equipment, or adjacent production lines. This may for example result in a “peanut-free” product containing traces of peanut. The Codex recommendations or the EU Labelling Directive do not cover this cross-contact. However, allergic consumer groups, such as EFA, do call on the EU to regulate this area.

Many countries have created national guidelines to aid the food industry in how to manage and label allergens including cross-contact allergens. 

More information

Proposed EU legislation:

UK guidelines for catering industry:

National guidelines on management and labelling of allergens: