The death of a Manchester woman from a suspected allergic reaction, is proving a wakeup call to restaurateurs to embrace the new EU allergen laws.
The 18yr old student collapsed following a meal at the Almost Famous burger restaurant in Manchester, dying three days later in intensive care.
The accident occurred literally weeks after the new laws came into force, providing a timely reminder to all restaurants that they MUST comply or face potentially serious repercussions.
The laws, which came into force in December 2014, require that all UK food service providers, including food service operators, be fully knowledgeable about the presence of any of 14 food allergens in the food they serve and know how best to communicate this information to their customers.
Leading authoritative figures have commented that not enough is still being done by UK restaurants, despite the legal implications. General trends show that staff are paying lip service to the new regulations but are not properly adhering to them. Written information on menus etc is often incorrect or out of date.
The death of the Manchester student demonstrates how dangerous allergies can be, it is not simply a matter of irregular breathing or swelling of the lips, death can also occur. According to the Foods Standards Agency, on average 10 people die and approximately 5000 are hospitalised every year due to allergic reactions.
What are the allergenic ingredients?
There are 14 allergens that must be labelled or indicated as being present in foods and these are:
- Cereals containing gluten such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or khorasan
- Crustaceans for example prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish
- Milk (including lactose)
- Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia (or Queensland) nuts
- Celery (including celeriac)
- Sesame seeds
- Sulphur dioxide (>10mg/kg or 10mg/L)
- Molluscs for example clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid
The BHA perspective
As proud partner of the British Hospitality Association, NDML support their continued commitment to raising the awareness of the EU Allergen Regulations. They have created a Guidance Toolkit designed to assist in understanding and implementing the new Allergen Regulations, ultimately saving money and time.
For detailed information, access to the Toolkit, facts & stats and legalities visit www.bha.org.uk or to find out more about food allergies and intolerance visit anyone of the following sites:
Click here to view The Government Food Allergy leaflet
Click here to view information regarding Food Allergy on the NHS website
Click here to view The Government loose Foods leaflet
Click here to view more on Food intolerance and Coeliac disease
Click here to view the Allergy and intolerance section of the Food Standards Agency’s industry and enforcement site
Click here to view a Detailed list of 14 Allergens from the Food Standards Agency
It is worth noting that failure to comply might impact your insurance policy if a customer files legal proceedings.