Every caterer will know by now that food allergens have been hot topic for the past few months. What are these allergens, why is everyone talking about them?

What is a food allergy?

Food allergies are immune system reactions that occur soon after eating certain protein in foods. The strength of the reaction depends on the amount of proteins eaten. Nevertheless, even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger (strong) symptoms.

These symptoms can vary, ranging from swelling of body parts (eyes, lips, feet, and throat) to hives, anaphylaxis and even death.

Why are they such a hot topic these days?

Allergies are the most common chronic disease in Europe: more than 150 million people are concerned (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology –EAACI) and around 21 million British adults suffer from at least one allergy (Mintel, 2010).

EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation came into force 13th December 2014.

Allergens have to be highlighted on packages, and you should be able to tell your customer if there are any of the 14 allergenic ingredients in the food you provide.

You have to mention clearly if there is any of the following ingredients in your dishes:

Your staff must be trained in order to know which allergens your dishes contain, and they must know how to react if there is a case of allergy in your premises. You can book your online allergens awareness course here or in-house course here.

To be compliant, you must know if prepared meals you are using include food allergens: it means you must also check with your suppliers.

Information on the allergens within the meals that you serve must be available in a written format for your guests, should they request it.

If you have any enquiries about this topic please comment below or contact Food Alert on 020 7244 1900 or e-mail enquiries@foodalert.com




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