Compulsory food allergy labelling – major change for caterers
With less than 200 days to go until the introduction of the Food Information for Consumers (FIC) Regulation 1169/2011 relating to the compulsory labelling of allergens within the catering industry, many businesses still remain oblivious of its existence.
Lack of awareness of allergen law in the food service industry
Caroline Benjamin of the Food Allergy Training Consultancy (FATC) has been out and about on the south coast over the last few weeks, visiting over 250 venues in Salisbury, Southampton, Brighton and Chichester of varying sectors within the food service industry. Of those visited over 90% were totally unaware of the regulations and their need to comply. The outlets which had a vague awareness were part of a larger organisation, although many had not yet received any guidance from their head office on how they would manage the regulations. Some businesses had been notified by their suppliers, 3663 and Brakes who are issuing information to their customers to highlight the changes, but many SME with local suppliers are being left in the dark.
Major Changes to EU Food Labelling Laws:
There are an estimated 21 million adults in the UK who suffer from at least one allergy, yet many food businesses have little or no knowledge in this area, and many are unaware of the imminent legal changes. From December 2014, current EU food labelling laws will change meaning all establishments or suppliers providing food products will need to provide full allergy information to customers. There are 14 different food allergens which will need to be clearly listed in order to comply with the new laws. This includes on packaging, menus, shelving or information provided by staff (who will need to know the contents of each product). Environmental Health Officers and/or Trading Standards will be enforcing the new requirements once they come into force and non-compliance could result in prosecutions up to £5,000 per offence. Strictly speaking each dish could be a separate offence but the EHO or TSO is unlikely to do that, he will probably take 2 or 3 by way of illustration.
EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation 1169/2001
The legislation which covers ALL food supply business operators at ALL stages of the food supply chain, will include but not limited to; hotels, restaurants, public houses coffee shops, hospitals, schools, care homes, and voluntary groups who provide regular refreshments to consumers for example: church groups and cricket teas. The regulation specifically relates to the provision of detailed information of food allergens contained within food and drink provision, it covers both prepacked and non-prepacked foods, and how venues will provide this information to the end user.
The regulation is thought to be the ″Biggest Change in Food Safety Legislation since 2005″, but it is so under publicised that compliance by the 13 December is going to be near on impossible.
John Dyson, food advisor to the British Hospitality Association and Managing Director of Cocoms ltd highlighted the issues for food service businesses at a recent event organised by the Sussex branch of the Institute of Hospitality, Dyson stated “The complexities of providing allergen information to consumers on request in compliance with the food Information regulations is causing many businesses significant problems and is not being assisted by FSA/DEFRA not providing practical and definitive guidance. This is leaving hospitality businesses exposed to receiving advice and guidance from those who see it as an opportunity to sell unnecessary costly and complex solutions.”
Need to find out more?
FATC are holding workshops across the south “Planning for Change – Food Allergen Law” to highlight the changes and give caterers the opportunity to find out more, the sessions will enable the attendee to start planning the changes they need to make to ensure they are compliant with the law. Visit www.fatc.co.uk/events for more information. Further events in London and the Home Counties are planned from September – December, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Labelling legislation & the law
- Facts & symptoms on the 14 allergens listed in the regulations
- Risk management – cross contamination
- Planning for change – what you need to do next!
- The law & the legal obligations for your establishment
- What the scope of regulatory requirements are
- How they will impact on you and your teams
- Overview of the 14 allergens
- What food allergens and intolerance’s are
- What support you should expect from suppliers
- What you need to do next
Who should attend?
- Anyone involved in the production or service of food to the end customer
- Management team, Duty managers, Supervisors, team leads
- Kitchen Managers, Chefs, catering Assistants
- Front of house – Serving, bar & room service staff
Dave Morton, Catering Manager at University of Winchester“We felt that everyone benefited from recent training session as the information was clear and easy to understand. Everyone has put forward suggestions on how to improve what we already do on allergy awareness, which is really encouraging”
Images copyright FATC