Greater protection for food allergy sufferers
Food allergy sufferers will be able to eat with greater confidence as new rules affecting the way local food businesses inform customers of potential allergy dangers are introduced.
Under current regulations, businesses such as supermarket bakeries, delis, cafés and restaurants selling loose foods, do not have to provide information to customers about food allergens.
From 13 December, all food businesses will need to verbally explain or signpost allergenic information about the food they sell or provide.
Food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions and the number of affected people is growing. The primary cause of food allergy deaths in the UK is allergic reactions when food is eaten outside the home, and allergenic ingredients have not been declared.
The new EU rules require all food businesses to inform customers if any of 14 allergenic ingredients are present in the food they make or serve. This can be communicated to customers in writing on menus, verbally through explanations by staff, or signposted to where or how more information can be found.
Mark Watson, cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “All food businesses in Croydon should be ready to provide this vital information by December.
“We understand food businesses work long hours, leaving little time to read through new guidance. However, easy-to-understand information is available on the Food Standards Agency’s website to help businesses with these changes.
“Businesses could be missing out on vital custom by not providing clear and accurate allergen information about the food they sell or serve. These new rules will make food outlets more attractive to those who are unfortunate enough to suffer a food allergy, offering them a greater degree of confidence that the food they’re served is safe for them to eat.”
Croydon Council’s food safety team will be working with the FSA to make sure businesses know what to do and how to provide safe fare for those with food allergies and intolerances.
DATE: 21 October 2014