Implementing the requirements of the new food allergen regulations is set to cost British food businesses up to £200m a year, the British Hospitality Association has said.
The new EU Food Information Regulations will require all businesses serving food, including restaurants, hotels, pubs, takeaways, motorway service stations, cafés and all caterers to track, record and communicate allergens to the public, by 13 December.
These include the foods most likely to cause an allergic reaction, such as nuts, shellfish, milk, gluten, and eggs.
The BHA has now calculated that the knock-on effect on businesses could cost as much as £200m, thanks to the need to change sourcing and management processes, adapt websites and menus, and brief and train staff.
The association has also launched a free "toolkit" and a series of workshops, created by the food advisory team, to help food businesses adapt.
Jackie Grech, policy director for the BHA, said: "These new regulations coming into force this autumn and will make it easier for people to get information about which allergies are present in the food they are eating out of home. Food businesses will be expected to learn how best to communicate these new regulations to their customers."
The association estimates that around eight billion out-of-home meals are served every year, and quoted NHS estimates that 2% of people suffer from food allergies, along with around 20% who believe that they have some kind of allergy.