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Food allergies and intolerances

Food allergies and intolerances can involve a wide range of foods. We’ve pulled together some useful information to help you find the right foods for your diet, but it's important to seek advice from your GP if you think you have an allergy or intolerance.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is a reaction to food which involves the immune system. Allergic reactions usually happen quite quickly (within minutes or hours of eating or touching the food) but reactions can occasionally be delayed. Symptoms can vary depending on the allergy but include swelling, itchy skin rash, difficulty breathing, vomiting and occasionally anaphylaxis. The most common allergies in the UK are to cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts.

What is a food intolerance?
Food intolerances are adverse reactions to food which, unlike allergies, don’t involve the immune system, the most common food intolerance in the UK is lactose intolerance. Food intolerances are rarely life threatening but can have a big impact on your day-to-day life, with symptoms including constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, headaches and skin rashes. Want to know more? We work closely with Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign to keep people informed of our allergy policies. Visit their websites to find out more about allergies and intolerances.

What about coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body reacts to gluten from your diet. When gluten is eaten, the body mistakenly attacks the digestive system. This causes damage, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from the diet. Coeliac disease is usually a lifelong condition but it can be managed by following a gluten-free diet.

Find out more about coeliac disease here

Avocado toast

Should I be eating this?

To make living with an allergy or intolerance a little bit easier, we’ve put together lists of foods which don't contain common ingredients linked to food allergies and intolerances. Please choose from the below lists or get in touch for a combined product list.

Gluten

Dairy

Peanuts and nuts

Egg

Sesame

Soya

Yeast

Combined lists:

Peanut, nuts and sesame

Soya and dairy

Each list is updated on a monthly basis to capture new products and recipe changes. Please ask any of our staff for help finding products from these lists in our store.

Always read the label...

Basket of food products

Our allergy labelling

We provide clear allergy and ingredient labelling on all our foods and drinks. We label the following allergens when present on the pack: milk, gluten, fish, molluscs, crustaceans, eggs, celery, mustard, soya, sulphites, lupin, sesame, peanuts and nuts. As well as this, we avoid using unnecessary allergens in our foods.

If our foods contain any of the above allergens, it will be marked in bold on the ingredients list, making it easy to spot at a glance. If there’s a chance that an allergen may be present due to cross-contamination, you’ll see the below statement printed in blue: 'Not suitable for X allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods'.

Always check the ingredients list before purchasing to help identify whether foods are suitable for your diet.

Cup of coffee from above

Cafes, deli counters and bars

Our cafes, deli counters and bars prepare and bake a large range of foods and drinks on site. As a result, it’s not possible to guarantee foods and drinks from these outlets are free from allergens due to the significant cross-contamination risks from products, people and the environment. However, more information is available on each product in store, so please ask any of our staff for details.

A large crab on ice

What are crustaceans and molluscs?

New European food labelling laws no longer allow the use of the term 'shellfish'. Instead, it must be separated into relevant types: crustacean or mollusc.

  • Crustaceans include crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawn
  • Molluscs include mussels, squid, octopus and scallops
Gluten free logo

Gluten free

We have a wide range of gluten-free products available, all of which will carry our gluten free logo. Not only will you find this logo on our specially developed Made Without Wheat gluten-free alternative range, you'll also find it on other products across the Foodhall such as soups, sausages, meat and stuffing.

Nut allergy logo

Labelling for nut and peanut allergies

Foods that are not suitable for nut or peanut allergy sufferers will carry our blue nut logo and the statement: ‘Not suitable for nut or peanut allergy sufferers’.

Coconut, water chestnuts and pine kernels are not legally considered as nuts so, if present, they will be clearly declared in the ingredients list but they will not appear in bold.

Allergy update logo

Allergy update

Occasionally we may have to change our recipes to improve quality and flavour. This can be done in a number of ways including changing ingredients or, on rare occasions, we may change the location of where the food is made – which may alter the allergen status of a product.

To ensure our customers are aware of allergen changes to our foods, we use our 'allergy update' logo on the front of the pack. This highlights the need to check the ingredients list to make sure the food is still suitable before purchasing.

Food inspiration

Array of pasta and cake dishes

Gluten-free ideas

Enjoy all your M&S favourites made gluten free, so no one has to miss out. Try gluten-free crumbed cod fillets, gluten-free pasta and free-from-gluten fishcakes specially devised by our chefs for everyone to enjoy

Shop gluten free Food to Order

Fruit pudding

Discover our Made Without range

Designed to make gluten- and dairy-free diets exciting and delicious, we've got a variety of options available throughout our stores and are introducing more products every season, so you won't miss out on your favourites

Read more about Made Without

Food News

Discover delicious new additions to the M&S Foodhall, plus tempting recipe inspiration and seasonal treats

Explore Food News