Shopping can cause frustration, stress and confusion, the list below is to alleviate some of these. This list is to be used with Labelling and Allergens Guide.

  1. Assume nothing is safe – always read the label the thoroughly.
  2. Look for free from products but still look for allergen e.g., some gluten free products use almonds in the pastry.
  3. Check fresh vegetables packaging for allergens – see photo below
  4. Go shopping when you have time, rushing can lead to mistakes.
  5. Check labels thoroughly and if you can read them effectively use your camera on your phone to enlarge ingredients see below.
  6. If you are shopping online be aware sometimes details are not updated
  7. Shopping online, some sites allow you to put in dietary requirements e.g., allergens, so the site gives you a “Dietary profile warning” (or something similar depending on company using) see below for photo.
  8. Always check for, may contain, trace ingredients, made in a factory that handles, disclaimers.
  9. Be aware of shop layout as this could affect your shopping trip e.g., loose nuts, pizza counters, hot counters as these can emit airborne allergens. 
  10. Have a shopping list and back up items in case of supply is not available.
  11. Always read the label several times, triple check, in the shop on the product, putting away in the cupboard, at home before consuming, if necessary, get someone else to read as mistakes can happen.
  12. Always check labels even if you had before because ingredients can change without notice. Some companies will use a logo to show change of recipe but remember this is voluntary and not all companies do this.
  13. Different size products can be processed in different factories and can handle different allergens, so allergens can be different.
  14. Always keep up to date on food recalls (see menu link below or Recalls page) sign up for email alerts via contact page, include in the email text Email Alerts.
  15. Do not buy foods without labels as you cannot know what is in the product, or from bulk bins e.g., scoop and weighing products.
  16. Food markets be aware of food airborne allergens, if trying foods only try items that have the labels with the item.
  17. If you are uncertain about a label and ingredients get in contact with the company and do not consume until they have given you the information that you need.
  18. Take gloves or hand gel/wipes in case you must handle an allergen and you cannot wash your hands straight away. Always wash hand when possible as hand gel or antibacterial wipes cannot be relied on completely.
  19. Do not buy foods without labels as you cannot know what is in the product, or from bulk bins e.g., scoop and weighing products.
  20. Currently, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label, from ‘Natasha’s Law’ will come into force in October 2021. The reforms cover labelling requirements for foods that are prepared and packed on the same premises from which they are sold – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase. (Gov UK) see link below.
  21. There are apps for mobiles and tablets that help with allergens and shopping but be aware this need constant updating from the app supplier so be aware there could be outdated data.
  22. If you must buy foods that have allergens that you are allergic to have separate bags to place items in, so does not contaminate your items.
  23. Always carry your medication and adrenaline auto-injectors with you
  24. Wear medical identity.
  25. If you have no one with you or gloves and you must pick up an allergen you are allergic to, ask a member of staff or a customer to help you.
  26. Using scan and go or equivalent, can reduce the number of times your items are handled.
  27. If you are using scan and go or equivalent, if your items need a recheck and you have different items in different bags e.g., allergens in separate bag, explain to the member of staff that you have allergies and the bag with allergens could this be handled last as will not cross contaminate other items you have.
  28. If you feel unwell during your shopping trip, then contact a member of staff immediately.
  29. If you are uncertain about an item, either speak to member of staff or do not get the item and contact the company.
  30. When home unload allergen free food first and then if have someone at home at the time get them to put the allergen foods away or otherwise do them last as you will not contaminate your food
  31. Wash your hands, after shopping that way if you do have an allergen on your hands it will not be transferred to your mouth.
  32. Obtain Free from lists supermarkets and manufacturers, but make sure you still check ingredients as ingredients and recipes change.

Fresh Vegetables Packaging

Natasha’s Law Gov UK

Photos of labels

Online shopping “Dietary profile warning”

Food Maestro App (Please always double check, and do not exclude label reading for own safety)

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