Allergens Alert

Food Standards Agency logoFood allergies are serious business and approximately ten people die in the UK every year from food-induced anaphylaxis.

Of the 1,500 asthma deaths, a number of these can be set off by allergies to food.

So it is essential that catering establishments ensure their food is clearly marked and labelled as for the population with allergies, even the smallest trace of a food allergen lead to at least, severe symptoms, at worst fatality. Young adults and teenagers are the most at risk.

Changes to food allergen information rules

In Europe, food allergens are monitored and assessed by experts affiliated to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It is this body’s responsibility to ensure safe food.

As a caterer, any oversight in this department can lead to immeasurable trouble, not least loss of reputation. Food allergens have been targeted in new legislation that came out on 13 December 2014 as a guideline to practising good kitchen hygiene, as well as careful separation, storage and labelling of ingredients when preparing food.

According to the legislation, “The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (No.1169/2011)  outlines the new requirements for businesses which are providing food sold pre-packed and non-pre-packed (loose) such as food sold in a restaurant or takeaway.” What this means is that all food businesses are now required to provide information about the allergenic ingredients used in food that they sell or provide.

14 major allergens need to be declared:
• Cereals containing gluten namely wheat, barley, rye and oats
• Crustaceans like prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish
• Molluscs like clams, scallops, squid, mussels, oysters and snails
• Eggs
• Fish
• Peanuts
• Soybeans
• Milk
• Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, Macadamia or Queensland nuts)
• Celery
• Mustard
• Sesame
• Sulphur dioxide or sulphites (where added and is >10mg/kg in the finished product. Often found in dried fruit and wine)
• Lupin often found in types of bread, pastries and pasta.

Labelling Needs

In order for catering companies to ensure the safety of their customers as well as safeguarding their own establishments, there are certain rules of which they must be aware.

Certain labelling must be provided for most pre-packed foods including the name of the food, an ingredients list, information on certain foods causing allergies or intolerances that were used in the manufacture or preparation of a food, the quantity of certain ingredients, the net quantity of the food, a date of minimum durability amongst others. For further information, access the Food.gov.uk information here.

At AC Services (Southern), we provide service for the best quality Rational ovens to catering establishments of all sizes. However, we urge everyone involved in the industry to ensure they’re up to date with all relevant legislation that could effectively, save lives.

Published Date: 7th April 2015
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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