Don’t get caught out by new labelling laws, use MenuCal to track your ingredients


FSS Menucal Chicken Shwarma

This article contains paid-for content created in collaboration with Food Standards Scotland

With the rise of the ‘conscious consumer’, it is now more important than ever for customers to know exactly what is in their food and identify potential allergen hazards. To support businesses with meeting consumer and legislative expectations, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has adapted its MenuCal tool with functionality to manage, store and track the information required for allergen labels for food sold prepacked for direct sale (PPDS).

The free online tool helps with recording recipes, identifying allergens and managing ingredients. In addition to MenuCal, FSS has online training facilities available for retailers to build greater awareness and understanding of what food businesses need to do when it comes to communicating allergen information.

Enforced across Scotland and the rest of the UK, a new law, which came into force in October last year, made it a legal requirement for food businesses of all sizes to include full ingredient lists and emphasised allergen information on food items PPDS. Examples include: sandwiches prepared and then placed into packaging by the food business, before the consumer selects them, and sold from the same premises; wrapped deli counter goods such as cheese and meats; and boxed salads placed on a refrigerated shelf prior to sale.

The changes came into force following the tragic case of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died following an allergic reaction to an undeclared ingredient in a baguette sold PPDS in 2016. Following consultation, feedback from consumers called for better ingredient information for food sold this way.

FSS Menucal Breakfast Smoothie

What’s been updated on MenuCal?

• PPDS labelling functionality has been added to the “calorie journey” on the MenuCal tool
• Users can now record the required ingredient information for PPDS allergen labels
• To ensure no allergens are missed, a ‘no allergens present’ selection is now required for foods that contain none of the 14 legal allergens
• PPDS label information for each recipe is downloadable onto a word document

In addition, the messaging and signposting within MenuCal has been updated and enhanced to highlight the importance of accurate allergen information and the mandatory fields for PPDS labelling.

By using the free tool, businesses can ensure they are safely managing and providing information to their consumers on the 14 main allergen ingredients in food. These are: cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soya, milk (including lactose), nuts, celery, sesame seeds, mustard, sulphur dioxide and/or sulphites, lupin and molluscs.

How can the MenuCal tool support YOUR business?

• Everything in one place – store your own recipes, ingredients and menus so that it’s easy to manage allergens in your menus/products
• Create your own ‘store cupboard’ – you can select ingredients from the vast database of foods or manually input your own ingredients to use for any future recipes
• Make amendments to any ingredient and/or recipe at any time and create an allergen matrix and/or download PPDS label information

Food Standards Scotland is here to support retailers of all sizes with practical guidance and online resources following the new legislation. With all user information saved safely and securely on MenuCal, the easy-to-use tool allows businesses to keep track of allergens.

Registration is free – sign up today to start using the tool: