Tighter Food Allergy Labeling Rules Begin in United Kingdom

New food allergy labeling rules in the United Kingdom took effect last week as the government there began enforcing new requirements.

The new regulations require companies to spell out specific ingredients that may be allergens in an expanded list of government-mandated potential allergens. The new rules also apply to restaurants and pubs which serve food, including family restaurants and small outlets. Training for chefs and cooks at those establishments is also required.

The new regulations aren't without their detractors, however, who complain that they put heavy burdens on small businesses that are already feeling the squeeze from large restaurant chains. Some have negotiated delays in implementation in order to comply with requirements while others have embraced them early.

For its part, the British government says that most inspectors will issue warnings rather than fines and penalties on restaurants that are having trouble coming into compliance immediately. Most restaurants on the British Isle and Ireland have already posted consumer warnings to require patrons with allergies to clearly state them up-front before ordering in order to avoid confusion and potential harm.

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