News item

Trading standards helps takeaways protect allergy sufferers

Trading standards officers are starting a drive this week to help caterers and takeaway operators act responsibly in informing the public about food ingredients so that allergy sufferers are not at risk.

Officers will be starting a countywide programme of visits to establishments to coincide with National Allergy Awareness Week, which runs from 28 April to 4 May. Cumbria trading standards officers will be visiting takeaways and caterers  to advise them on the dangers of food allergies and how they need to adapt to comply with changes in legislation due at the end of the year.

There are currently a range of foods which are known to cause allergic reactions including gluten, nuts, eggs, fish and milk. Pre-packed foods have to declare these but, until the law changes in December, takeaways and restaurants currently do not.

However the greatest number of incidents, including deaths, have arisen from the undisclosed presence of allergens in takeaway or catered foods.

Under new EU legislation, practices will change from 13 December 2014 so that sellers of loose foods including takeaways will have to declare the presence of a range of allergens to their customers. They can, however, declare them now if they so wish and Cumbria trading standards will be advising food businesses on this.

Mike Smyth, Cumbria Trading Standards Manager, said:

“Instances of allergic reactions are relatively low but the effects can be devastating or even fatal. We want consumers, and visitors to Cumbria, to enjoy eating out as a pleasant social activity and not have to worry about undeclared ingredients. We will be advising food businesses, both prior and subsequent to the new legislation, to comply with the new requirements and give accurate allergen advice to all their customers.” 

For further information contact Gareth Cosslett on 01228 226337. 

For general enquiries to Cumbria County Council's communications team contact media@cumbria.gov.uk or call 01228 226338/ 221008/ 226601.  

DATE: 29 April 2014