Food allergens

Current allergen labelling rules will be changing and as from 13th December 2014. I am getting ready to implement the changes in my setting and I am required by our Local Authority Environmental Health Officer to keep parents informed.


FSA Advise that food allergens pose a significant risk to consumers with allergic conditions, which may be life threatening. Children are particularly vulnerable because they cannot control the foods they eat.
As a childminder, it is my responsibility to ensure that I provide parents with allergen information so they can check what they have provided in their child’s lunch and snacks for the day.
As a parent it is your responsibility to keep me update about your child’s dietary needs and that nothing has changed.
The provision of allergen information concerns any foods bought from a shop and unpackaged foods including home cooked meals. The allergen information must be easily accessible and readily available.
When you buy food in shops you will see that many businesses are already starting to make changes to how they label allergens on their products. Under the new rules, allergens will be emphasised on the food label (usually in bold type) and displayed on counters for loose foods.

I would appreciate if you could provide me with the allergens that are in your child’s lunches and snacks each time they come so that I am able to record on my paper work what they have been given.

This will help me should the child touch/eat by accident something that is not his and if he then reacts, I can then proceed to care for him and if I know what has caused it, this will make it easier.

There are 14 allergens to be aware of:
Think twice!

Which ingredients can cause a problem?

There are some of the foods children may be allergic to and some of the places where they may be found

Allergen and where they are found

Cereals - Containing Gluten (Such as wheat, rye and barley. Also check foods containing flour, such as bread, pasta, cakes, pastry, meat products, sauces, soups, batter, stock cubes, breadcrumbs, foods dusted with flour.)

Eggs - In cakes, mousses, sauces, pasta, quiche, don’t forget foods containing mayonnaise or brushed with egg, some meat products boiled

Nuts - In sauces, desserts, crackers, bread, ice-cream, marzipan, ground almonds and nut oils

Soya and soybeans - As tofu or bean curd soya flour and textured soya protein, in some ice-cream, sauces, desserts, meat products and vegetarian products

Milk - In yoghurt, cream, cheese butter, milk powders. Also check for goods glazed with milk

Celery and celeriac - This includes celery stalks, leaves and seeds , also look out for celery in salads, soups, celery salt, some meat products

Sesame - In bread, breadsticks, tahini, houmous, sesame oil

Mustard -Including liquid mustard, mustard powder and mustard seeds, in salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, curries, meat products.

Sulphur dioxide/ sulphites - In meat products, fruit juice drinks, dried fruit and vegetables, wine, beer

Lupin - Lupin seeds and flour in some types of bread and pastries

Fish - In some salad dressings, pizzas, relishes, fish sauce, you might find fish in some soy and Worcestershire sauces

Molluscs - These include mussels, whelks, squid, land snails, oyster sauce

Crustaceans- Such as prawns, lobster, scampi, crab, shrimp paste

How do you prepare food for a child with a food allergy?

Use separate preparation surfaces, knives, bowls etc. Clean down work tops thoroughly and wash hands before handling food and between touching ingredients.

Safe method:


It is important to know what to do if you look after a child who has a food allergy, because these allergies can be life threatening.

Safety point and Why?

Always check if children have any food allergies and keep a written record of these

It is good idea to be able to refer to this record when preparing and serving food

The parents will provide me with lunch and any snacks with the relevant information for me to record the allergens.
Check ingredients Never guess

If someone has a severe allergy, they can react to even a tiny amount of food they are sensitive to.

You can find out more about allergies at

If I am cooking to remember to check the ingredients of any oil, sauce, dressing or other packaged foods, including tins and jars. If I am not sure I will not give the food to the child

Any to these could contain an ingredient the child is allergic too.

If a parent. Guardian for a child with an allergy provides food; make sure it is clearly labelled with the child’s name on it.

This makes sure that the child received the right food and avoids it being given to another child who may have a different food allergy

What to do if things go wrong

If you think a child is having a severe allergic reaction:

• Do not move them

• Ring 999 and ask for an ambulance with a paramedic straightway

• Explain that the child could have anaphylaxis

• Send a responsible person outside to wait for the ambulance

• Contact the patient/guardian of the child after you have called for an ambulance

How to stop this happening again

• Recheck the foods given via the parents for other children in my care and make a note of the allergens that may be present

• Keep separate from other children’s foods in my care that have these allergic reactions

• Make sure that work surfaces etc are wiped down efficiently

I am required to write down if something goes wrong and to note how I dealt with any problem.

Meals and Nutrition

• My aim is to provide children with a healthy, balance and tasty diet using a variety of colours, textures and tastes.(provided by parents)
• All children must wash their hands before and after eating
• Children who are on a special diet can usually be accommodated, but this will be discussed with parents and would be on an individual basis.
• Water will be made readily available at all times
• Children will be encouraged to have good eating skills and table manners
• There is in place a healthy eating policy and I will encourage the children to eat healthily
• All children will eat at the table and younger ones will be sat in a highchair.

Breakfast: Provided by parents

Lunch: Provided by parents

Snacks: (for a small fee) otherwise provided by parents

Drinks: (included in fees)

Supplies List

The following things to be brought each day:
• A change of clothes, suitable for climate changes

This should include for example, trousers and a jumper, shorts and a t-shirt.
• Outdoor clothes suitable for climate. This includes hat, gloves and a coat for the winter and sun hat for the summer
• Nappies and wipes
• Suitable footwear
• Bottles of milk or formula if needed
• Sun cream (if it is the summer)
• Comfort items if the child needs them