Trading Standards Officer wins Hero Award for allergen project inspired by the late Megan Lee
Dilys Harris, a Senior Trading Standards Officer at Caerphilly County Borough Council, has been recognised by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) for her work on a recent food allergen project.
The awards, hosted by CTSI at One Great George Street, Westminster, on the evening of Tuesday, October 19, recognised significant contributions to consumer protection across the UK.
Dilys worked tirelessly over the last year to develop an allergen resource for businesses all over the UK. The creation of the resource was in part inspired by the late Megan Lee, who died after suffering a severe allergic reaction to nuts contained in a takeaway meal in 2016. Megan's parents, Gemma and Adam, attended Hero Awards and gave a heartfelt speech about the story of their daughter and their work to raise awareness about food allergies. They met Dilys for the first time and thanked her for undertaking the work, which greatly expanded the reach of their own campaign.
The resource includes a PowerPoint presentation embedding videos of real-life stories with a scripted voice-over on each slide, video resources, an allergen guide and a resource page which are all multilingual. There are nine languages in total English, Welsh, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Turkish, Kurdish, Cantonese and Mandarin.
The materials were released just before Natasha's Law came into force. The law makes food businesses selling PPDS food obliged to label it with the name of the food and a full list of ingredients with allergenic ingredients emphasised within the list.
Dilys Harris said: "I am humbled to have been selected to receive the CTSI Hero Award. A huge thank you to every one of our partners and colleagues who helped make my initial idea a reality. I am honoured to have our work recognised; it means so much to me that the work that I am so passionate about also resonates with others.
"I have been so moved by Megan Lee's story, the stories of others who have tragically passed away, and those living with food allergies. The compassion I have for allergy sufferers is what has driven the work forward over the course of the last year.
"My heartfelt appreciation to Megan's parents, Gemma and Adam Lee, the Fitzpatrick family and the Natasha's Allergy Research Foundation for championing this cause and supporting me to deliver the Greater Gwent Food Group's allergen resource. I promise to continue my efforts to raise awareness and reduce deaths from allergic reactions."
CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said: "I wish to congratulate Dilys for her work on this critical project. It's estimated that around two million people in the United Kingdom have a food allergy. As we know, allergies can be extremely dangerous, and in the stories of Natasha and Megan, they lead to their tragic deaths.
"Natasha's law will prove a vital piece of legislation that will save lives. These resources, spearheaded by Dilys, explain the new law for businesses so that they can apply the new legislation correctly. It is also commendable that this campaign was produced in no less than nine languages, making sure that the UK's diverse communities get the message."
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk
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