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Food for thought: Allergen training for local food businesses

An estimated 1-10% of people in the UK live with food allergy(1) and 92% of these people are scared to eat out(2). Allergy UK, the leading national charity for people living with allergic disease, is working in partnership with local councils to deliver allergen training to local food businesses.

On 6th February 2019, staff from food outlets in the Bexley area attended Allergen Awareness training delivered by Nigel Pittock of London Borough of Bexley’s Food Safety Team. This was an opportunity for staff to demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding their customers living with food allergies.

Allergy UK Head of Endorsements, Leigh George said “The Allergen Awareness Training is being provided by the councils working with Allergy UK, to ensure that all food businesses within their local authority understand the importance of food allergen management. The aim is to safeguard people affected by allergy and provide reassurance the food outlet they are using understands the risks involved, and are able to provide a safe meal for them, which in turn safeguards the business.

“So far, the attendance has been good and whilst people may not have realised how important allergen management is before the training, they are now certainly aware and better informed how to safeguard themselves and their customers.”

Ismail Mehmet, owner of Fish etc. in Belvedere said “We had some understanding of food allergens prior to attending the course. However, we still decided to attend to extend our knowledge. We left the session with a broader understanding of allergens, as well as being more organised with notifying our customers of allergens in their foods. I highly recommend attendance to improve your businesses knowledge.”

Allergy Aware Scheme Bexley

Catering outlets represented at the training included Mambocino Coffee; Riverside Fish & Steak House; Sal’s Café; Millers Pie & Mash; Fish etc.; Blackfen Community Library; Masala Inn; Mal’s Caribbean Kitchen; 151 Club and more.


(1) Chafen al. (2010) Diagnosing and managing common food allergies: A systematic review. JAMA 303:1848–1856.

(2) Allergy UK (2015) Consumer survey ‘Living in Fear’

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