eBay item specifics are not just about following the latest eBay best practices. They could be a legal requirement and may even help protect your buyers’ health.

eBay UK has published a reminder to its sellers of their legal responsibility to display ingredients and allergen information when selling food and drink products online. The requirements are designed to protect consumers who may be allergic or have an intolerance to specific ingredients by ensuring that they are fully aware of any potential risks associated with their purchases.

Guidelines set by The Food and Standards Agency in the UK (FSA) state that the following allergen groups must be declared by law:

  • Celery
  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites
  • Tree Nuts

Any food or drink products that contain any of the ingredients listed above must display this information clearly on the product packaging. eBay also recommends that sellers add information to the “allergens” item-specific section when creating their listings.

It’s important to remember these rules do not only apply to eBay sellers. If you sell food and beverages on any other marketplace or your own website to UK customers, you must comply with the regulations.

Online Food and Drink Sales

The FSA states on its website that if food is sold online allergen information must be provided at two stages in the order process. These include:

  • Before the food purchase is completed. This can be in writing (on a website, catalogue or menu) or orally (by phone).
  • When the food is delivered. This can be in writing (allergen stickers on food or an enclosed copy of a menu) or orally (by phone).

Why your business should comply

Aside from the very obvious health risks to your customers, businesses that do not comply with allergen information requirements risk financial and reputational damage.

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