From the 13th of December 2014, legislation came into force which requires catering outlets to make sure information on the 14 major allergens is available to any customer with a food allergy. You must be able to provide accurate allergen information for your dishes orally to customers on request This information should be available to staff and others in a written, recorded form.
If you are selling non-prepacked food, you will need to display a sign at the point of service (i.e. on a menu, chalkboard, etc.) that informs them they can ask a member of staff for information about any allergens in the food the business serves. This can be in the form of a sign at the counter or bar where people order, or a sentence on your menu.
The Food Standards Agency has prepared signage for businesses to print out and use for this purpose. You can use the language on the sign linked here on your own signage.
It is strongly recommended that you have some written documentation on the allergens present in the foods your business serves. A simpleway of doing this is by completing a chef’s allergen matrix - this document clearly shows which allergens are in which dishes you serve. This matrix can then be shown to customers.
If you are using one of these, you must review it regularly or whenever you change any of the dishes you offer or add new ones (for examples, if you offer Daily Specials or similar). If you change any prepacked products you use (e.g. pre-prepared sauces), you should check the labels to check if you are adding any allergens into a recipe. Make sure you include any ‘specials’ or dishes you occasionally make!
An example chef’s allergen matrix can be found below at:
The Food standards Agency and Allergy UK have other useful resources available for food businesses.
Bath and North East Somerset Council offer Level 2 award Allergen Training. This qualification will provide learners with an understanding of:
- Why food allergens need to be controlled
- Strategies for controlling allergens, such as keeping and making information available about allergenic ingredients
- Reducing cross contamination of allergens
- Improving communication with and providing advice to consumers
This course costs £62 per person (including V.A.T.); a multiple choice examination is taken at the end of the course. Refreshments and a light lunch are included.
For more information or to book a place, please contact Public Protection at 01225 477508. Payment can be made by telephone, cheques or cash.