Over the past 12 months we have seen allergens hit the headlines on numerous occasions for a variety of reasons ranging from changes in labelling regulations to fatalities due to consumption of products containing nuts. The latter which was reported as recently as last month.
Non compliance with food safety legislation has resulted in the latest allergen related prosecution. A London-based cash and carry has been fined £6,000 for selling almond mix powder that contained peanut.
EHOs from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s prosecuted Soms Uddin Shahin and Sima Enterprise Limited of Newham for food labelling and Food Information Regulation offences.
The accused were found to have risked the lives of customers after applying an ‘almond mix powder’ food label onto a 10kg box of ‘peanut and almond mix’ product and selling it to a Southend restaurant in December 2015.
The defendants were found to have risked lives by mislabelling food, thereby concealing its allergenic peanut content. Mr Shahin was fined £1,224 and £120 victim surcharge. Sims Enterprise was fined £2,083 and £130 victim surcharge plus £2,720 costs.
With legislation regarding management of allergens now firmly embedded in food safety law, there is no excuse for food business owners not to manage this aspect of their operation.
The risk of possible allergic reactions and fatalities can be avoided if basic food safety fundamentals are put in place.
- Ensure that company recipes and menus are updated to reflect changes in ingredient content.
- Up to date information pertaining to allergen content of foods sold/served in the food establishment must be readily available for patrons. Menus and/or display boards can be used for this purpose.
- Members of the kitchen team and front of house must also be knowledgeable of the allergen content of food. The provision and use of an up to date allergen matrix cannot be understated.
For further advice, training or assistance, do not hesitate to contact CSC.