RESTAURANTS in France will be required by law to tell customers about ingredients that could trigger a food allergy.
A Europe-wide directive, which came into force this weekend, means customers must have access to allergy information relating to 14 types of ingredient - but the details will not necessarily appear on menus after restaurants complained.
Takeaways, restaurants, hospitals and care homes will all be covered - and they must keep an up-to-date document of possible allergy triggers in the dishes they serve, which can be consulted by the public.
The ingredients covered by the directive are: celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya and sulphur dioxide.
The initiative came from the European Commission - which had initially wanted all the details to appear on menus. This requirement was then relaxed on the request of restaurant unions.
The new legislation includes heavy fines for food outlets that fail to comply. A governmental decree that is needed to put the rules on the French law-books is due to be passed by mid-January.
The European Academy of Allergy estimates that 17 million people across the continent are affected by food allergies.