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All you need to know about food allergen poster

More than 32 million people in United States experience food allergies each year, it’s around 5% of adults and 8% of children, and these percentages are rising annually. Allergic reactions are mostly mild, like hives, itching, or eczema, but in some cases, even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can cause a life-threatening reaction such as swollen airways. This is why strict laws have been applied, like the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) in the US, to inform customers about the allergens used. Our free food allergen poster will help your team to easily remember the big eight allergens that cause 90% of all food allergies and to protect your customers.


How will a food allergy awareness poster help me?

We know from our own experience that as a food business, your team is always busy with serving customers and you as an owner, chef, or manager are responsible for running the successful business. One of the biggest challenges is to train your team to handle food safely, including avoiding cross-contamination when handling food allergens. If the customer has a food allergy, sometimes there cannot even be a tiny piece of a food allergen. That’s why it’s important to have a clear food allergy awareness poster to display in your workplace - so your kitchen team will see at a glance all the big eight allergens and the risks that allergens are involved. 


Is a food allergen poster mandatory?

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that any of the big eight allergens in use be informed or labeled to make it easier for consumers to identify and avoid foods containing major food allergens. Indicating allergens can be on the packaging, labels, or a statement for customers to ask staff about food allergies. A food allergy awareness poster for restaurants is not legally required but will make your kitchen team’s life easier to keep in mind the big eight allergens.


How to use a food allergen poster?

As you see, the food allergy awareness poster lists all the big eight allergens with nice and simple illustrations. Like this, it’s easy to see at once which foods may cause food allergies and remember them easily. Display this poster where all your team can see it – on the walls or near the working zone. Keeping food allergen posters in front is especially important when serving high-risk customer groups like the elderly, children, or people with a low immunity system.


What are the big eight food allergens?

Top food allergens, also known as the big eight allergens in the US are – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish. Starting from January 1st, 2023, sesame is being added as the 9th major food allergen, being part of the FALCPA.


These big eight allergens are responsible for most of the severe food allergy reactions:


Milk allergy is the most common among children, but in 90% of cases, children will outgrow the allergy by the age of 6. Milk is a widely used ingredient in butter, cheese, cream, milk powders, and yogurt. Also, it's used in powdered soups and sauces.


2. EGG

Egg food allergy is also widespread among childer and is also often outgrown by the age of 6. The egg white is a part of the egg that more often causes a food allergy than egg yolk. Since eggs are often used in food products like cakes, meat products, mayonnaise, mousses, pasta, quiche, sauces, pastries, or foods brushed or glazed with egg, always check the ingredients.



Fish allergy can be surprising in some areas, but it's most common in places with higher fish consumption. Mostly the reactions are mild, but in some rare cases, they can be more severe. As there is a great range of different species, food allergy mostly applies to different species, including salmon, cod, halibut, haddock, tuna, and anchovies. Fish is usually used in fish sauces, pizzas, relishes, salad dressings, stock cubes, and Worcestershire sauce.


4. CRUSTACEAN SHELLFISH (shrimp, crab, and lobster)

Allergy to crustacean shellfish also appears especially in regions where the consumption is higher. Also, it's important to remember that shellfish remains any allergic features even after heating. People with a crustacean allergy may also suffer from mollusks (mussels and clams), allergies, and fish. Shellfish is mainly used in shrimp paste, often used in Thai and Southeast Asian curries or salads.



Tree nuts include cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, or macadamia (Queensland) nuts. Tree nuts are known as the cause of the most severe food allergies in the world. This is why tiny amounts of food can trigger severe reactions, and strict avoidance is essential.



Peanuts allergy is the most popular among children, and it has tripled in the last twenty years. At the same time, it's considered the most dangerous food allergy for children as a really low dose can cause fatal reactions. Peanuts are often used in biscuits, cakes, curries, desserts, sauces, groundnut oil, and peanut flour.



Wheat allergy is tightly related to a very widespread disease called celiac. Celiac is a reaction to a protein fraction called gluten, found in wheat and wheat-related cereals such as rye, oats, and barley. As gluten is widely used among processed food, such as baking powder, batter, breadcrumbs, bread, cakes, couscous, meat products, pasta, pastry, sauces, soups, and fried foods are dusted with flour, allergic people are in trouble trying to avoid it.



Like wheat, soybean is also a difficult food to avoid as it is used in many processed foods - including tofu, miso paste, soy sauce, soya flour, soya milk, and soya oil. Soya is also a staple ingredient in oriental food. Vegetarian food products often include soybeans as a substitute for meat protein.


What documents do I need?

Local authorities' visits and inspections can be challenging, especially when you don't have all food safety-related documents in order according to the FALCPA. Correct informing materials for the team is one of the first signs to authorities that your food business takes food safety seriously. Be ready for the food safety inspection and use our free food allergen poster template to create your own.

Find all the most popular HACCP plan documents from our free HACCP plan template hub.


Important food allergy documents include:

1. Food allergy chart template to help your team inform customers about menu items containing allergens.

2. Food allergies poster to help your kitchen team to remember all the big eight allergens.

3. Food allergens is an essential chapter of your HACCP plan of prerequisite program chapter.


Suppose you're unsure where to start with your food allergy documents or don't have enough time. In that case, FoodDocs HACCP builder will direct you through the HACCP process and gets your food allergy documents done in no time so you can focus on what you need to – managing your business.

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