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 can be 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 if you only operate table service.
The Food Standards Agency has prepared signage for businesses to print out and use for this purpose. You do not have to use the exact sign linked, and can use its wording (or similar) 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 do keep written information on the allergens in your foods/drinks served, 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!
The Food Standards Agency provide a template Food Allergen Matrix.
The Food standards Agency and Allergy UK have other useful resources available for food businesses.
The Food Standards Agency's allergen guidance for industry
Allergy UK's Information and Advice Page
The Food Standards Agency's online Food Allergy Training
The Food Standards Agency's
Safer Food Better Business and Allergen Management workshop
Food businesses should ensure they have suitable and documented food safety management systems in place, to show how the food they serve to their customers is safe and to comply with the law. These systems need regular review, in particular when the business practices or menu change.
The control of allergens, and provision of clear and accurate allergen information for customers, is also crucial to ensuring safe food. Our Safer Food Better Business and Allergen workshops will give managers and food handlers an understanding of the risks associated with allergies, how to check what allergens are present in their foods served, and what information they have to provide consumers with when requested.
These workshops will assist businesses to implement suitable systems if they do not already have them in place, and will also help to refresh existing systems. Businesses will get to take away their own copy of the Food Standards Agency's Safer Food Better Business pack at the end of the workshop to use in their own business.
The workshop is competitively priced at £50 (this charge is not subject to VAT) and includes:
- A 2-hour taught session on how to use Safer Food Better Business as your business' documented food safety system, to help achieve compliance with the law.
- A practical demonstration on how to complete the pack's safe method sheets, daily diary, and review page, as well as explanations on the other sections of the pack.
- A printed copy of the Food Standards Agency’s Safer Food Better Business pack in a storage folder, for use in your own food business
- A 1.5 hour session on allergen controls, preventing allergenic cross-contamination in your kitchen, use of separate equipment, and what is considered to be good practice.
- Guidance on providing the right information for your customers on allergens (such as using allergen charts, marking your menus, and the display of allergen information signs)
- The opportunity to ask any questions you may have related to Safer Food Better Business and Allergens.
- A certificate confirming your attendance at the workshop.
We currently do not have any scheduled course dates. If you would like to register your interest in this course, please email us at email@example.com.
RSPH Level 2 Award in Identifying and Controlling Food Allergy Risks
Bath and North East Somerset Council run taught courses for the Royal Society of Public Health's Level 2 award in Identifying and Controlling Food Allergy Risks. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01225 477508 to apply for places and check current pricing.
These sessions are held at Bath's Royal United Hospital.