A note from Caroline Benjamin – Founder of Food Allergy Aware

As this year draws to a close, I thought it would be interesting to look back over everything we have achieved in 2022. Working in collaboration with other companies has meant that we have been able to develop and grow the business significantly. I am looking forward to 2023 as it will be our 10th Anniversary!

Food Allergy Aware joined forces with Jacs Allergen Management in a collaboration for Hospitality Allergen Support UK – this enables us to share our skills and work smarter together. Our first project was the launch of the Near Miss Reporting Campaign which highlights the importance of documenting Near Misses to avoid a fatality or serious incident occurring.  The report is currently a “work in progress” and we plan to publish early in the New Year – so watch this space! In addition, Jacqui and I have been running management workshops to stress the importance of following a reporting process. One small mistake could cause a death!

This year we have trained over 100 delegates at our level 2 & 3 training courses (HABC/CIEH) with a 64% distinction rate in level 3 training. In addition, we have been running management leadership workshops featuring case studies both internally to the business and externally, of fatalities that have occurred due to incorrect allergen information being provided to the Free-From customer. We highlight the importance of communication and training, and how positive communication can prevent such a situation in the workplace. The feedback has been very positive, with delegates completing action plans to check potential on-the-job issues and review their procedures.

The most popular exercise which we include in all our training is the True and False quiz. It is very competitive and very few people achieve 100% correct answers but, I am really pleased to report that the level of awareness regarding “Allergen Myths” has improved dramatically since we first began our training courses. Our motto is  “You Don’t know What You Don’t Know”.  There is always much more to learn in the world of allergen management and the one vital piece of information could save a life!

We have carried out many allergen audits in businesses such as hospitals, garden centres and pub/restaurants. We work closely with each business to review current systems and develop an Allergen Management System to suit.

Here is an overview of the events attended in 2022:-

  • March: Hospital Caterers Association 22 Forum on a panel with Tania & Nadim Ednan-Laperouse  – https://hcaforum.co.uk/9/review-2022
  • April:  HABC International webinar – The impact of allergens on your catering business
  • July: HABC – Update on Natasha’s Law and Near Miss Reporting – click hereto watch
  • October: Jacqui & Caroline attended the Garden Centre Forum in London speaking on PPDS and Near Miss Reporting
  • November:   CIEH Conference panel session with Hazel Gowland – the latest on PPDS labelling
  • December:   HABC – How to handle food safety under pressure

Finally, I would like to thank those who work behind the scenes , namely Lisa and Amy in administration and Sally my partner in training, all of whom are invaluable to the success of Food Allergy Aware.

Next year we are looking to launch a networking and training scheme which will be appropriate for all businesses in the hospitality sector. We are also planning to run a Mock Trial Food Allergy Prosecution conference in the third quarter of the year, venue to be confirmed.

I thank you very much for your support  and sincerely hope that you will help to us to celebrate our 10th anniversary by joining in with some of our key events next year. All event details will be included in our regular newsletter along with some new features and allergen information.

Wishing you all a healthy and prosperous New Year – See you on the other side!

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