EU FIC 1169/2011 allergen labelling on buffets

Laure Klement
EU FIC Buffet Allergens

Legally required information

Since December 2016, hotel, restaurants and catering owners are responsible for providing allergen information to their guests. It is no longer possible to provide verbal information only upon request. Make sure you know the latest European Union legislation for your hospitality business. 

Click here if you would like to learn more about the 14 allergens that need to be declared.

There are specific exceptions to labelling the allergens listed above:

  1. Listed exceptions (e.g. alcoholic distillates, fish gelatines, fully refined soybean oils...)
  2. Clear references to allergens (e.g. "Eggs Benedict", "Chocolate-Glazed Peanut Tart, "Italian-Style Grilled Octopus")
  3. List of Dairy Products considered as clear references to Milk
  4. EU FIC Member States provisions. Information on the 14 allergens stipulated in the EU FIC 1169/2011 regulation must, however always be provided in writing to the consumer.

The provision of allergen information in restaurant buffets seems more complex since the guest is on their own when selecting foods. In this case. your hospitality establishment can provide written allergen information only at the point of supply: meaning, the buffet table.

Card labels: ideal for fixed buffet servings

Display card labels for each food displayed on the buffet. Each label should provide allergen information (e.g.: with allergen symbols on the card label, and a sheet available at all times at the buffet table). 

This solution will be particularly appreciated by your guests with food allergies and intolerances.

Food-allergen matrixes: ideal for buffet servings changing often

Provide a complete overview of all foods prepared in your establishment for buffet service in one book or folder. Make sure to place the book or folder prominently at the buffet or display cards informing of the availability of the book.

Cautionary measures for buffets

  • Provide alternatives for guests with allergies: slices of bread without seeds, milk made of rice, lactose-free milk, gluten free cakes, etc. Those alternatives need to be clearly labeled. 
  • Keep gluten-free bread away from other glutinous bread. This way, cross-contamination has lower chances to occur (e.g. possible if guests pick all types of bread with their hands)
  • Ingredients with seeds and nuts (e.g. bread or spices) should be placed in a way that they can not fall into other recipients. 
  • Garnish or decorative ingredients containing allergens (e.g. nuts) should be offered separately. 
  • Provide dedicated baskets, bread boards and knives for alternative dishes.
  • Be considerate of non-allergic reactions (e.g. chocolate which contains amines, or chilli which can aggravate the symptoms of eczema). Read more about more non-allergic reactions to food.
  • Present serving utensils in a way that guests do not use one across different bowls.
  • Display a written message for people with severe allergies "If you are allergic, feel free to ask our chef for a specially-prepared dish.”

If you would like card labels or food-allergen matrixes (book or folder) to be prepared for your hotel, restaurant or catering, contact our team at Menutech.

 

Sources: 

The Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers