In much welcomed news, The Food Standards Agency welcomes new research recently published which shows that people with food allergies and intolerances are more confident about eating out since allergen information rules were introduced in 2014.
The research found that, post legislation:
- 70% of food allergic and intolerant consumers feel more confident in asking staff for allergen information
- 56% of food allergic and intolerant consumers value staff more as a source of information
- 44% of food allergic and intolerant consumers are more ‘adventurous’ about eating out
- 67% feel allergen information on food business websites is dependable
- 63% say talking to the chef about their allergen needs can be relied on
- 35% report an improvement in allergen information in the menu
The importance of the understanding of allergen awareness and compliance with food safety law cannot be understated and comes on the back of the case reported in 2016, where Mohammed Zaman, owner of the Indian Garden restaurant in Easingwold, was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. This followed the death of a patron who had consumed a curry containing nut powder, despite making the restaurant aware of the nut allergy.
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