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FAQ

Allergens

  • Who is responsible for compliance with Regulation 1169/2011?

    The food business operator under whose name or business name the food is marketed is responsible for compliance with Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information. If that operator is not based in the European Union, the importer into the EU market is responsible for compliance (Regulation 1169/2011 – Chapter III – Article 8).

  • What information does the Regulation say we have to provide to consumers?

    Food business operators must inform consumers if a product contains any of the 14 ingredients causing allergies or intolerances specified in Regulation 1169.

    If a prepacked item contains any of these 14 ingredients, this must be clearly indicated on the label, even if it’s only a trace amount. The ingredients should be indicated in bold, underlined or coloured font, etc.

    In the case of non-prepacked foods, consumers should be provided with information about products containing potential allergens.

  • How do I tell consumers about allergens in dishes served in a restaurant, bar, school, etc.?

    The legislation doesn’t specify how such information should be provided to consumers. In Spain, the Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN) published a series of guidelines following the issuance of Royal Decree 125/2015. However, those guidelines are not legally binding, and in cases of conflict the interpretation of the legislation would ultimately be the responsibility of the law courts.

    In accordance with the legislation in force and based on the information provided in the AECOSAN guidelines, there are currently two ways in which consumers can be given this information:

    A. The 14 ingredients stipulated in Regulation 1169 Annex II should be shown on the menu. The ingredients can be indicated in text or symbol format. If symbols are used, a key should be provided with details of what each symbol means. Click here to download a useful document from wholesaler Makro. This non-copyrighted document includes icons and symbols for allergens that are available for use free of charge.

    B. If the establishment does not have a menu or does not want to modify its existing menu, it should hang a poster in a visible position stating that the establishment complies with Regulation 1169 and informing consumers that they can request information in writing about any of the 14 ingredients stipulated in Regulation 1169 contained in any of the non-prepacked foods on sale.

    In the case of option B above, the establishment must also have a written list of all the allergens contained in its prepared dishes available at all times.

  • Do I need to tell my customers about all allergens or substances that cause intolerances?

    No. Regulation 1160 lists 14 of these substances. There are hundreds of substances in foods that could cause allergies or intolerances. For example, broad beans cause allergies in people with Gilbert’s syndrome. In these cases, the individual with the allergy is the one responsible for asking the establishment if a dish contains the ingredient or traces of it.

  • Do I need training in allergen management and labelling?

    Yes. All personnel who handle foods should:

    • Be aware of the 14 substances causing allergies or intolerances stipulated in Regulation 1160.
    • Be aware of the main ways in which cross-contamination occurs in the specific food preparation activity performed.
    • Know the methods of removing these substances and traces of them.
    • Be able to test for the presence of these substances in the foods served to customers.
    • Know the valid methods recommended by AECOSAN for informing the next link in the food chain.

    To comply with legislation, food business operators also have to draw up their own allergen management control plan. The aim is to provide the population with safe foods and not put consumer health at risk.

  • Can I be fined if we don't comply with this Regulation?

    Yes. Incidents caused by food allergies and/or intolerances can result in fines and serious public health problems. Companies that do not comply with food safety self-monitoring requirements face fines of between €5,000 and €600,000.

    If you’d like to find out more, you might be interested in our blog post on food information in the retail sector: Información Alimentaria en Comercios Minoristas.

HACCP

  • What is HACCP?

    Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) is an internationally recognised system to ensure the safety of foods using a preventative approach.

  • Is HACCP compulsory?

    Applying procedures based on the principles of HACCP is a legal requirement in all levels of the food chain except primary production. Responsibility for the production and distribution of safe foods fundamentally lies with food producers and suppliers. It is therefore up to the food sector to provide the means to ensure that foods sold will not cause harm. These means include applying the principles on which HACCP is based and implementing correct hygiene practices.

    To keep up to date with legal requirements, it’s important to follow good practices and have an appropriate record-keeping system. Alimentium makes this easy. To help food business operators, Spain’s regional authorities have also drawn up self-monitoring plans based on the HACCP system.

  • What are self-monitoring plans?

    Self-monitoring plans are essential basic protocols to ensure an establishment meets food safety requirements.

    The principles of HACCP established by FAO and WHO are:

    Principle 1. Conduct a hazard analysis

    Principle 2. Determine the critical control points (CCPs)

    Principle 3. Establish critical limits

    Principle 4. Establish monitoring procedures

    Principle 5. Establish corrective actions

    Principle 6. Establish verification procedures

    Principle 7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures

COST BREAKDOWNS

  • What are recipe cost breakdowns?

    They are detailed breakdowns of the purchase price of all ingredients and the amounts required to make a portion or dish.

    Recipe cost breakdowns only list ingredients. They do not include any other costs or expenses, such as labour, electricity, etc. Cost breakdowns therefore tell you the cost of a dish before it is made.

  • What are cost breakdowns for?

    The aim of a cost breakdown is to tell you the final cost of a dish or portion. This enables you to calculate the profitability of each dish and whether it meets your restaurant’s cost targets.

    If you subtract the cost of a dish from its net selling price excluding VAT, you will get the gross margin of the dish.