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Do you know what “The Big 8” food allergies are?

18 January 2019

“The Big 8” food allergens

If you work in the food business it’s important that you are aware of potential food allergens of any of your customers.

There is a group of the major allergens in food which is known as the “The Big 8”. These * allergens include;

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Other nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Wheat
  • Soya
  • Crustaceans  (Crabs, prawns, lobsters)

14 allergens under Irish Legislation

These eight allergens account for about 90% of allergic reactions, however by law in Ireland there are 14 allergens that must be declared, the other 6 allergens added to The Big 8 listed above are;

  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sulphur dioxide (at concentrates higher than 10mg/kg)
  • Lupin
  • Molluscs (Mussels, oysters, squid, snails)

Kiwi and Strawberry fruit is also becoming a more frequent allergen but still 10 times less common than the main ones: milk, eggs and peanuts. Of course there are many other allergens that cause problems for people however under legislation you are only required to list the above common 14, all other allergens are not covered by allergen labelling requirements.

Allergen information requirements

In Ireland, Allergen information must:

  • Be provided in written form in English or in Irish and English
  • Be easily located and accessible before the sale or supply of the food – customers must have the information before buying and must not have to ask for the information
  • Relate directly to a food or beverage so there is no confusion about which food it relates to. It is not acceptable to say ‘Our food contains…’. You must identify the exact food e.g. ‘spaghetti bolognaise – contains milk, celery, wheat’
  • Be in a legible handwritten or printed format


Source – FSAI

If you have any furhter questions or are interested in learning more about food safety, please contact us on+353 1 278 1938 and we will be happy to help you!