Frequently asked questions

The major food allergens are as follows:

  • Cereals containing gluten such as wheat, rye, barley, oats or spelt
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish    
  • Peanuts
  • Soya 
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Celery (including celeriac)
  • Mustard  
  • Sesame seeds   
  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Lupin  
  • Molluscs

There are 2 classes of allergic reactions, minor and major.

Minor allergic reactions can give you these symptoms:

  • Sneezing, runny, blocked or itchy nose
  • A rash (sometimes hives), or cracked skin
  • Red, itchy and sore eyes
  • Wheezing, coughing, tight chest
  • Swollen lips, tongue, eyes, face
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

Major allergic reactions - anaphylaxis - can give you these symptoms:

  • Swelling of throat or mouth
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Blue lips
  • Collapsing from loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

If any of the major symptoms are being exhibited, you should: use an adrenaline injector if they have one, then call 999 immediately.

If you are experiencing a minor allergic reaction, you will most likely have to wait for it to pass or take something like an antihistamine.

Major allergic reactions can result in loss of consciousness, respiratory or cardiac arrest. If they have an EpiPen, it must be administered. Even if they do have an EpiPen and it has been administered, emergency services must be called if someone is experiencing the symptoms of a major allergic reaction.

You should always use clean workspaces and utensils when preparing different types of food to avoid cross-contamination. Here are some tips to prevent cross-contamination with food:

  • Always wash hands before preparing food
  • Colour coded chopping boards can be used to differentiate between different food groups but specifically useful for raw and ready to eat foods.
  • Like above, different utensils should be used for different food groups too and both should be thoroughly washed after use.
  • Chopping boards should not be overused and regularly replaced due to the deep grooves that can occur and store bacteria
  • Clean surfaces regularly
  • Wash fruit and vegetables
  • Do not wear jewellery and watches as they can collect bacteria

Although there are tests happening to try and cure this, at the moment there are no cures for food allergies. There are treatments for allergies but no preventative measures.

Documents & other resources


The HACCP System: Simplified

This document outlines the 12 steps and splits them into bite-sized chunks. You can use this resource as your go-to for implementing a HACCP system at your place of work.


14 Major Food Allergens

This is a printable list of the 14 major allergens, including a little bit of information about each of them.