Food Information for Consumers (FIC) and Restaurants: Just the Facts

Since mid December, Food Information for Consumers (FIC) Regulation 1169/2011 has been in effect. In a nutshell (no pun intended), the goal is to ensure that restaurant patrons are informed if any of 14 specific allergens are in your recipes.

We all learned the 5 Ws and the H (part of Key Stage 3 today) and I thought I’d use that method to share a basic summary of what’s now required.

Who Must Do This

Every establishment that sells what is termed “non pre-packaged foods” must provide this information. That includes fast food, casual and fine dining restaurants.

What Allergens Must be Listed

  1. Celery (and celeriac)
  2. Cereals containing gluten
  3. Crustaceans
  4. Eggs
  5. Fish
  6. Lupin
  7. Milk
  8. Molluscs
  9. Mustard
  10. Nuts
  11. Peanuts
  12. Sesame
  13. Soybeans
  14. Sulphur dioxide

Take a look at a Food Standards Agency infographic here.

Where You Must Do This

You have options as to where you display the information.

  • You can add the information to the menu.
  • You can print it out as a supplement to the menu or on the table.
  • You can post the information (for instance on a sign). Information must be posted in a prominent place, somewhere your patrons will easily find it (for instance, at the till, at the host station, or in a prominent location near your outside drive-through menu).
  • That sign might direct patrons to ask their server for information.
  • If requested, you’re required to show the entire recipe.

When Must You Do This

Right now. Restaurants have been required to do this since 13 December 2014.

Why this Is Required

Nearly two million people in the UK have food allergies. Each year, 5,000 people are hospitalised: 10 people die as a result. Properly labelling or informing your patrons about allergens in your recipes can save lives.

Learn more about the impact of allergies in the UK here.

How You Can Make It Easy

Maitre’D puts all the information you need to share with your customers at everybody’s fingertips.

  • At inventory time, you can record the contents of the food you bring in and add the information to every recipe.
  • Your servers can view your current recipes from their workstation or from their tablet.
  • You can print the ingredients of each menu item and instantly know which contain any of the 14 allergens you’re required to disclose.
  • You can print the recipes for your cook staff (or display them on a CVM kitchen monitor) to ensure that every order follows its recipe exactly.
  • This significantly reduces the amount of time required for training employees, since the information is instantly available to every employee through Maitre’D.

Learn More

This is only the basic outline of the new requirements. To learn more, explore The Food Standards Agency website. This document is your best place to start.