New rules for food businesses mean that customers will be told whether food contains ingredients known to trigger allergies.

The rules came in on 13 December. Takeaways, restaurants, sandwich shops, bakeries and other businesses selling or serving food which is not packed now need to provide extra information. Customers will be told whether foods contain 14 common allergens including nuts, milk, celery, gluten, soya and wheat. Businesses pre-packing food also need to provide more allergy information on labels.

Around 2 million people live with a food allergy in the UK. The most common cause of food allergy deaths comes from food consumed outside the home where allergen information has not been provided.

The new rules mean that information must be given either by staff or on a menu, leaflet or display board, or by signposting customers to information.

The Food Standards Agency has produced a range of advice, education and training materials for businesses. Sheffield City Council has been helping promote the new regulations to businesses and customers through mailshots, visits to manufacturers, telephone advice and work with the Eat Sheffield group.

Coun Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene, said: “It’s important that businesses understand the new rules and provide this extra information to customers. It’s also important that customers understand their new rights and get the information they need to help manage a food allergy.

“I’d encourage all food businesses to look at the Food Standards Agency’s information as the FSA guidance is really practical. There are also templates on their website that many small businesses will find are suitable for their needs.

“We will continue to support businesses and customers on these important improvements so I’d encourage any businesses requiring further information to get in touch.”

Businesses requiring further advice and guidance on the new rules should contact Sheffield City Council’s Trading Standards Service on 0114 273 4567 or by emailing trading.standards@sheffield.gov.uk