Allergen management in foodservice

Allergen management in foodservice has always been a cornerstone of ensuring safety and inclusivity, allowing customers with food allergies to dine with confidence.

The introduction of allergen labelling for pre packed for direct sale (PPDS) or commonly known as Natasha’s Law in the UK has brought about a significant shift, emphasising the importance of full transparency in labelling PPDS food items.

This new legislation mandates that all ingredients, along with clear allergen information, be listed on individual packaging, a move inspired by the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from an allergic reaction to an unlabelled ingredient.

You can read more about Natasha Law on the Food Standards Agency web site.

The Importance of Allergen Management

Effective allergen management is not just about compliance; it’s about protecting health and lives. With around 2% of adults and 8% of children in the UK having food allergies, the risks of cross-contamination and mislabeling are high stakes that foodservice providers must navigate with utmost care.

Implementing Natasha’s Law

For foodservice businesses, implementing Natasha’s Law means revisiting and potentially overhauling their packaging, ingredient sourcing, and information dissemination processes. It requires a detailed audit of every item that is considered PPDS, ensuring that all ingredients are accurately listed and that allergens are highlighted in accordance with the law.

Cross-contamination from farm to fork

Businesses now need to consider “may contain” labelling with the same level of seriousness as listed allergens used in food products. For example, contamination of grains at the farm level with gluten, peanuts or soy products grown in adjoining land can lead to detectable traces in the finished product.

As such the producers must consider unintentional cross contamination along the entire supply chain from farm to fork before making any free-from claims on their pre packaged products.

Training and Awareness

Key to managing allergens effectively is thorough staff training. Employees at all levels, from kitchen staff to front-of-house teams, must be educated on the importance of allergen management, the specifics of Natasha’s Law, and how to prevent cross-contamination. Regular training sessions can help keep this crucial information top of mind.

Communication is Key

Transparency with customers is equally important. Beyond packaging, clear communication through menus, signs, and verbal confirmations can help reassure customers about the safety of their food.

Engaging with customers who have allergies, asking the right questions, and providing complete and accurate information can make a significant difference in their dining experience.

Technology and Allergen Management

Advancements in technology offer new tools for allergen management, from digital menus that can be easily updated to include allergen information, to QR codes on tables that link directly to allergen charts. These tools not only aid in compliance with Natasha’s Law but also enhance the dining experience for customers with allergies.

Validation AND Verification of potential Allergens

Food businesses must consider steps of both verification and validation of allergen contamination in finished food products. Validation is confirming that the most effective preventative methods are instituted from the beginning of food production.

Example – considering the risk of cross contamination in grains grown adjacent to farms handling allergens like peanut. A full risk assessment across the entire supply chain can help give a clearer picture of the risks of unintentional contamination of allergens 

Verification is ensuring validated cleaning methods are being properly implemented. For example, positive release on allergens that the product claims to be “free-from”.

The introduction of Natasha’s Law is a landmark step towards safer foodservice practices, highlighting the critical importance of allergen management. By embracing thorough training, clear communication, and the use of technology, foodservice providers can ensure compliance with the law and, more importantly, safeguard the health of their customers.

Here is a TED talk by Juilanne Ponan MBE about “may contain” labelling in food products: Saved By The Email | Work More Efficiently With Grammarly (

As we move forward, the industry’s commitment to transparency and safety will continue to evolve, setting new standards for allergen management in foodservice.

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Frequently Answered Questions

What are Sprinkles ?

Sprinkles are seasoning mixes of superfood seeds, spices and herbs that are an easy way to add flavour, texture and nutrition to everyday meals.

While a spice mix is usually used during cooking, sprinkles are ready to eat and can be added on top of finished meals to improve the flavour and visual impact of the dish.

A Sprinkle a day keeps the bland away. Sprinkles can be your chef’s new best friend to quickly add layers of flavour to a base recipe.
For example, the same base soup can be flavours with a Coconut Thai Sprinkle or a Japanese Shichimi Sprinkles creating two completely unique end dishes.
Our sprinkles are also premixed in the right proportions to cut down cooking time for your kitchen staff.

We only use BRC certified suppliers and contractors for our entire supply chain.
We also do positive release for evert batch produced ensuring full quality assurance.

Yes. With 5 years of development experience for some of the leading food manufacturers and restaurant chains across UK.
We can take your sprinkle/seasoning brief from an idea to samples and finally to production.
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We take approximately 4 weeks for our bespoke service.
This includes collecting brief, creating 2 bespoke sprinkles and fine tuning your preferred one to a final recipe.
Of course, based on any specific requirements like specialised ingredients or delays in feedback can make the process longer.
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We usually take 4 weeks from acceptance of purchase order to delivery.
If your lead times are shorter, please do discuss this with us.

All our products are Nut Free. We offer Allergen Free alternatives to some of the usual commercial ingredients like our Gluten Free Crispy Fried OnionSesame Free Togarashi and Nut Free Dukkah.
To see our full range of allergen free opliions, please see here