Food allergens have been associated with a large range of products, and it has for some time now been a legal requirement to provide customers with reliable allergen information.
Allergen related incidents have recently made the front pages and there have now been a number of deaths due to poor allergen information being made available to customers.
In recent reported news a hotel in Cambridge has been ordered to pay £4,400 after a dish containing nuts was served to a customer whose allergy had earlier been highlighted.
The customer subsequently went into anaphylactic shock and required hospital treatment.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards brought the case against the hotel after receiving a complaint.
The seriousness of allergens cannot be ignored and ensuring food and customers safety must be part of the day to day running of a food business. People have lost their lives and those of family members due to poor allergen information being given to consumers.
In October 2018, 2 owners of an Indian takeaway were charged with manslaughter due to gross negligence after 15-year-old Megan died following an allergic reaction, even though Megan had informed them of her allergy. The owners are now serving two- and three-year sentences due to poor practices and gross negligence.
It is very important to ensure the following allergen procedures are in place :-
It is vital that strict procedures are followed and staff trained in allergens at site to ensure the safety of consumers.
Please ensure that all sites have the following in place:
- The allergen statement is completed
- Allergen signs are presented around site for customers to see
- The allergen matrix for all products with all allergenic ingredients highlighted is available to present to customers (signed and dated)
- Recipe of products with list of the ingredients
- Staff are trained
- Prepare a new information sheet if you change the recipe or change the ingredients
- Segregation – Ensure that all allergen products are kept in sealed plastic containers to avoid any cross contamination of products and ensure all allergens ingredients are kept separate
- Whilst much focus is placed on the 14 allergens that must be declared by law, it is important to remember that there are many other ingredients that your guests could have an intolerance to. Please ensure that the Chef is made aware of any allergens or intolerance's
- It is very important that the staff, both front and back of house, work hygienically and utensils are not mixed from product to product. For example, for items such as cakes ensure that the handling utensils to pick up from the stand/plate are not mixed from cake to cake
For further advice, training or assistance, do not hesitate to contact CSC.
For cost effective training, we now offer 'Allergen Awareness' training via our e-Learning portal: http://www.cs-compliance.co.uk/e-learning/