NEWS Release- Food allergy sufferer leads the way in educating businesses ready for major changes to EU food legislation


      Food Allergy Training Consultancy

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Thursday 25 July – Restaurants and caterers urged to prepare for changes to food allergy labelling legislation –

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Friday 2 August – Are you ‘Food Allergy Aware? You’ll need to be…


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Thursday 25 July – Is Your Business Ready For The Changes In The EU Food Information Regulations

News Release – 24 July 2013

A food allergy sufferer is leading the way with educating food businesses and venues across the country on major changes to food labelling legislation.

From December 2014, current food labelling laws for the food service industry will change, meaning all establishments or suppliers providing food items on their menus for the end consumer will need to provide allergy information, highlighting the specific food allergens listed within the EU regulation FIR 1169/2011.

The hospitality and leisure industries will no longer be able to simply state ‘they do not know if an allergenic food ingredient has been used’, but instead will need to provide clear information about the food allergens contained in their menu items. Allergens will need to be highlighted on their menus, packaging, and displays.  Verbal information can be provided by the staff; however, backup written confirmation of the details will be required and can be requested by the customer at any time.  Businesses will need to ensure their food service and kitchen staff are fully trained so they know and understand the contents of their menus, enabling them to respond accurately to customer requests with special dietary requirements.

The 14 allergens which food businesses and venues will need to declare to the customer in order to comply with the new EU FIR 1169/2011 laws are listed below.


  1. Gluten containing cereals
  2. Soya
  3. Crustaceans
  4. Eggs
  5. Molluscs
  6. Milk
  7. Fish
  8. Celery
  9. Peanuts
  10. Mustard
  11. Lupin
  12. Sesame
  13. Tree Nuts (such as walnut, hazelnut, almond)
  14. Sulphur dioxide

Caroline Benjamin (50) from Eastleigh in Hampshire is one of an estimated 21 million adults in the UK who suffers from at least one allergy.  Over the last 12 years, she became so frustrated with so many bad experiences of eating out – with minimal choice, high costs and a lack of knowledge on the consequences of serving food containing allergens – she decided to use her catering, and events experience to set up the Food Allergy Training Consultancy. The need for food allergy awareness training is only reinforced by the introduction of the major changes to EU food laws, which has seen Caroline establish herself as a ‘one-stop-shop’ on all things food allergy related.

Her aim is to educate the food service industry in the many different allergens, how to comply with the new laws by correctly labelling menus, and to help businesses build up customer loyalty from this growing market.  To achieve this, she is offering both training and consultancy to food businesses to cover allergens, intolerances and coeliac disease, and as part of this has organised a conference and ‘Free-From’ food exhibition, which is open to all food service and food retail businesses.  The event will take place at the Novotel Hotel in Southampton on Tuesday 22nd October 2013.

Caroline commented:
“The changes in the provision of allergen information, which will need to be in place by December 2014, will mean significant changes for all food service businesses. Even large companies who already have allergen policies in place are making mistakes with mis-labelling and not communicating properly to the customer.  It may seem insignificant to some, but to a food allergy sufferer it can really mean the difference between life and death dependant on how they are affected.  My aim is to highlight the changes in the EU law and help the hospitality industry to become ‘Food Allergy Aware’ and avoid prosecution.”

The event ‘New Food Allergen Information Regulations – Is Your ‘Food Service Business’ Ready?’ To be held in conjunction with Tourism South East will be chaired by Karen Fewell of Digital Blonde Ltd a leading PR company within the hospitality industry. The conference will bring together industry experts from The Food Standards Agency, The Anaphylaxis Campaign, Reading Scientific Services, Trading Standards, and Foods Matter & Freefrom Food Awards to demonstrate best practice and outline risks associated with food allergens.  More information is available at

Marietta Maidman, Regional Business Development Manager for Tourism South East commented
“Recent changes to food labelling regulations will affect any business within the tourism and leisure sector with a food offering. Tourism South East fully supports the ethos behind the Food Allergy Aware initiative, which can only enhance the food allergy-affected diner experience. It will also benefit businesses that embrace these changes as these diners are more likely to recommend visiting certified venues to their extensive online social media community.”

Trading Standards will be enforcing the new requirements once they come into force in December 2014 and non-compliance could, in some circumstances, result in prosecutions.

Sue Hattersley, Head of Food Allergy Branch at the Food Standards Agency commented:

“This is the most significant change in food labelling legislation since 2005 when allergen labelling requirements for pre-packed foods were introduced. There have already been some prosecutions of food businesses under existing general food law where misleading or incorrect allergen information was given by food service businesses. Businesses need to know about the changes that are coming and be prepared so that they can comply with the new requirements.”

For more information on the Food Allergy Training Consultancy, please visit

– ENDS –


Note to editor:

Allergy Facts:

  • An estimated 21 million adults in the UK suffer from at least one allergy (Mintel, 2010).
  • Allergy is widespread in the UK. Millions of adults suffer from at least one allergy, with numbers continuing to rise. Each year the number of allergy sufferer’s increases by 5%, half of all affected being children.
  • 13 million people below the mid-forties have 2 or more allergies (Allergy the Unmet Need, 2003).
  • 10% of children and adults under the age of 45 have 2 or more allergies (Allergy the Unmet Need, 2003).
  • The UK is one of the top three countries in the world for the highest incident of allergy (The Allergenic Invasion, 1999).
  • 50% of children and young people have one or more allergy within the first 18 years of life (Journal of Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2009).


Further information can be found in the accompanying FAQs document.

Press release Word Doc Click here

Frequently asked Questions Click here

Caroline Benjamin Founder   Click here

FATC Logo attachment  Click here

Media Enquiries:

FATC Caroline Benjamin 07732 637292
Food Standards Agency Amy Cope, Press Officer 020 7276 8817
Tourism South East Marietta Maidman, Regional BDM, 02380 625502

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