It is very important that services are informed of any allergies a child has as well as any medication they require. Services should ask for written consent to administer and store medication. Parents must ensure that any forms or permissions are completed. Staff may need to undergo specific training in the storage and administration of medication, such as usage of epi-pens- if a child has specific medical requirements, parents should check that staff are able to meet these.

Many children are rightly encouraged to manage their own conditions as much as they can, knowing what food or situation to avoid and how to self-administer medication. However, this does not mean that the service is not informed and is kept aware of the child's needs, and even adults might not be aware that certain recipes contain potentially adverse ingredients.

Allergy rights – what the law means for you

“Under EU law, any prepacked food or drink sold in the UK must clearly state on the label if it contains the following ingredients:

  • celery
  • cereals that contain gluten (including wheat, rye, barley and oats)
  • crustaceans (including prawns, crabs and lobsters)
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin (lupins are common garden plants, and the seeds from some varieties are sometimes used to make flour)
  • milk
  • molluscs (including mussels and oysters)
  • mustard
  • tree nuts – such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soybeans
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (preservatives that are used in some foods and drinks)

Food businesses also need to provide information on any of these 14 allergens used as ingredients for any food or drink sold without packaging or wrapped on site. It can be provided either in writing or orally by a member of staff. Where the specific allergen information is not provided upfront, clear signposting to where this information could be obtained must be given. The allergen information rules mean that:

  • you can ask for information about 14 allergens, if used as an ingredient in the food you are buying, when you eat out
  • you will see allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example, using bold, italics or colours) on prepacked foods”

This legal information is reproduced from: accessed July 2017.

In terms of OSC services, this means that no child with an allergy should ever be served with food containing the allergen- services would ensure that this does not happen by knowing the ingredients of foods and knowing which children have which allergies. Children's registration forms must clearly ask parents if children are allergic to any of the 14 recognised allergens.

last updated: 07/07/2023