10 ways you can be better informed about food allergies and equipped to meet the needs of a customer living with a food allergy:
- Know the food law and provide written allergen information to all customers.
- Implement robust food allergy management procedures. Here is the best practice allergen guidance for all food businesses.
- Ensure all staff are trained in understanding allergies, allergy management procedures and how to manage allergic reactions/anaphylaxis, with regular refreshes.
- Remember, consumers may be allergic to an allergen outside of the top 14 that you are legally required to disclose. Offer full, transparent, accurate and specific ingredient information on all dishes.
- Remember to include garnishes on ingredient lists for all food and drinks.
- Keep staff up to date with menu and ingredient changes and substitutions. Ideally, brief staff on menu changes at the beginning of each shift and have an up-to-date allergen matrix always made available for all staff.
- Ensure kitchen staff understand how cross-contamination can occur, how to minimise the risk of cross-contamination, and the consequences to both diners and businesses when these procedures are not followed. Here is guidance on how to prevent cross-contamination for all food businesses.
- Remember, cross-contamination can also happen through using the same cooking oil.
- Never second guess. If there is any uncertainty around whether a dish has been cross-contaminated or accidentally made with an allergen, it is safer not to serve it.
- Never pick off an allergen from a food and then serve it back to someone with an allergy.
What it's like to live with a food allergy
When living with a food allergy, there is no 'justs' when it comes to eating. Whether it's grabbing a coffee or attending a friends birthday dinner - every choice counts.
of adults with a food allergy have had a reaction to food despite being told the meal was safe.
(Allergy UK, 2023)
of parents caring for a child with a food allergy have been told that a food establishment couldn’t guarantee the meal or food would be safe.
(Allergy UK, 2023)