Allergy UK call for changes to Regulations for food chains preparing food on their premises
Allergy UK today is calling for changes to the food labelling Regulations as they apply to chains preparing high volumes of food on their individual sites. This follows the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.
Currently the Food Information Regulations 2014 require food outlets preparing food on their own premises to give allergen information on signs, on shelves, or verbally, if the food is prepared on the same day in an onsite kitchen. Whilst this section of the Regulations may accommodate small and medium sized businesses, where, for example, sandwiches are made to order, we believe that it is totally inadequate for busy, large scale, fast turnover high street food businesses. We believe individual product labelling is the most effective way of communicating vital information for people with food allergies.
Carla Jones, CEO Allergy UK says: “It is a huge concern for us, as the leading patient charity for people living with allergy, that we are seeing so many fatal incidents caused principally by a lack of communication on the allergen content of food. Whilst those living with allergies must be vigilant on their own behalf, the broader food industry needs to do more than just the bare minimum when it comes to catering for the allergic community. We have always believed that the 2014 regulations do not go far enough, particularly for large scale out of home food chains. We are committed to promoting a ‘top down’ approach within every kind of food outlet where everyone from front of house to the kitchen teams are aware of the allergens in their products and the importance of communicating the information that people with food allergies need to make their choices, whether they be from a menu or a chilled food fixture.
“We also want to empower people to encourage better communication and ask questions about allergens in food products, particularly amongst the younger people. We recently worked with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Anaphylaxis Campaign (AC) on the #EasytoAsk, a campaign designed to empower young people to ask food businesses about allergens when eating out, so that they can make safe choices.”
Notes to Editors:
Allergy UK is actively involved in the drafting of an internationally developed guidance document for best practice allergen management will facilitate awareness and good practice. (Code of practice on allergen management for food business operators).
(More information here: https://www.focos-food.com/codex-works-on-allergen-code-of-practise-for-food-industry/)
In the UK, an estimated 2million people are living with a diagnosed food allergy. (Between, 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children).
The most at risk are teenagers and those in their 20s who are starting to make independent food choices, (source: FSA http://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/english/food-allergy-facts.aspx)
In the UK, about ten people die every year from food-induced anaphylaxis, there are also about 1,500 asthma deaths, some of which might be triggered by food allergy. For those at greatest risk, the tiniest trace of food allergen can trigger severe symptoms and, in some cases, cause fatal or near-fatal symptoms.