NVWA: “Allergen information must be improved in the hospitality industry”

In 60 percent of retail, catering and craft businesses, customers are poorly informed about which allergens are and which are not processed in food. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority says that this can be improved. People with allergies or intolerances can be dangerous if they are not knowledgeable about the ingredients of the food.

Inspections by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) show that 60 percent of the nearly 13,000 retail, craft and catering businesses inspected do not properly inform their customers about which allergens are used in food or dishes. Checks will be carried out in 2022. The inspector sees a slight improvement in the provision of information (menu or plate), but when asked about the ingredients of the food, knowledge about allergens often seems limited. For people with allergies or intolerances – e.g. celiac disease – being uninformed about food can be dangerous.

Much more improvement

Companies must inform consumers about allergens in unpackaged foods. Audit results show that 6 out of 10 companies still do not inform their customers correctly.

In 2022, the NVWA was able to carry out many more checks than in 2021. In 2021, fewer checks could be carried out due to the COVID pandemic. Although the figures are not completely comparable, there is little improvement. The NVWA will continue to actively monitor allergen information in the coming period and will enter into discussions with the sector to improve awareness.

Inspection results 2022 compared to 2021

  • The NVWA visited 2,256 craft businesses (such as bakers, butchers and ice cream parlours). The results are about the same. 48 percent meet the requirements.
  • NVWA visited 9,407 accommodation establishments (including restaurants, hotels, canteens). Things are going a little better here than last year. 41 percent meet the requirements (last year 35 percent).
  • The NVWA visited 1,171 companies in the retail sector (supermarkets and tokos). It’s worse here than last year. 38 percent meet the requirements (59 percent in the previous year).
  • Compliance with rules is relatively better in healthcare institutions (including hospitals and nursing homes). 65 percent meet the requirements.
  • Coercive measures have been taken for companies that do not meet the requirements and measures in the form of warnings or fines have been implemented.


Since 2021, allergen information has been an integral part of NVWA audits in gastronomy, trade, retail and healthcare institutions, in addition to monitoring hygiene and pest control. Allergens are nutrients that can cause allergic reactions in some people, which can sometimes be serious or even life-threatening. Well-known examples are gluten, nuts and milk. Therefore, anyone serving food to consumers should indicate in advance which of the fourteen allergens are present in the food. This can be done in writing (via cards in the shop window or on the menu) or verbally (indicating that employees are ready to answer questions).

  • Author: editors
  • Source: Health Net