Food Allergy Awareness Week provides us with a great opportunity to help raise awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis.
Since the introduction of the Food Information Regulations in 2014, allergies have remained a hot topic and a major concern within the hospitality industry – and it’s not surprising, since an estimated 2 million people in the UK have a food allergy. Taking into consideration ever-changing challenges, it’s never been more important to make sure allergens are dealt with properly.
What does the law say?
The Food Information Regulations 2014 control how food businesses need to give information to their customers about the food they produce, sell and serve and the way this information is provided.
And, things are changing all the time. There’s been important changes to allergy labelling of “prepacked for direct sale” (PPDS) food from 1st October 2021. Under Natasha’s Law, all food businesses in the UK have to provide full ingredient lists on PPDS food.
There are 14 allergens that food businesses need to declare, which are…
- Cereals containing gluten
- Sesame seeds
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites
Preventing allergy incidents with training
Everyone in the hospitality industry is aware of the post-Covid shift in availability and retention of staff – but despite this, it’s essential that every member of the team knows how to deal with allergens and allergy requests, and this has to form part of day one induction training.
We’d recommend that you create in-house allergy experts or “champions”, who are dedicated to day-to-day allergen enquiries – and these should be both front and back of house staff. These employees might be managers or other experienced staff who are trained with in-house allergy procedures, and they should get additional or more frequent training.
But training is vital for all staff so they’re aware of allergies and understand how the business manages allergies. We know the idea of getting everyone trained up can be a bit daunting – but imagine if you could quickly, easily and effectively train your team and keep that training up to date year after year. That’s where we come in. We can help with new legislation (and there’s a lot of it where allergens are concerned), new starters and achieving compliance. And remember those recruitment and retention problems we mentioned earlier? Well, businesses who invest in quality training see a massive 53% lower staff turnover.
As a jumping-off point, we’d recommend our Food Allergy Awareness Training is an essential piece of training for those producing, selling or handling food. Your staff can learn about food hypersensitivity, declaring allergens and managing risks – all in 35 minutes and without anyone needing to go offsite to complete it.