EU Allergen laws: Foodservice operators told it's 'business as usual'

EU Allergen laws: Foodservice operators told it's 'business as usual'

The owners of foodservice businesses are being urged to continue to abide by the EU's allergen labelling laws despite the UK's intention to leave the EU. 

The legislation, introduced in 2014, requires all foodservice businesses to make it clear when a dish contains one of 14 known allergens.

Following the results of the EU referendum, confusion surrounded whether the legislation would continue to be used if the UK left the EU, but Caroline Benjamin, director of Food Allergy Training Consultancy, warned that businesses flouting the rules risked alienating customers with allergies as well as breaking the law. 

"It has been highlighted on social media that some businesses, when asked for allergy information in the last few weeks, have turned around and stated 'now we are out of the EU we will not have to provide this information in the future'," she said.

"This type of communication from staff can cause negativity across the FreeFrom community and customers may walk out of your door or feel uneasy about the food and service being provided to them.

"The catering industry has taken great leaps to provide information for the food allergy customer and I for one would hate to see this be taken away, as will the FreeFrom community, who have gained confidence in the law and started to feel safe when dining out."

Legislation change

The warning comes as food businesses prepare for a change in the law around the term No Gluten Containing Ingredients (NGCI). From 20 July, restaurants, hotels and pubs will not be able to use the term or other factual statements in food labelling or on menus as part of the EU FIR regulation 1169/2011. 

Instead, businesses are advised to use the terms 'gluten-free' if the dish contains less than 20mg/kg of gluten and 'very low gluten' where it contains less than 100m/kg. The regulation also allows food businesses to include the additional statement 'suitable for people intolerant to gluten' or 'suitable for coeliacs'. 

Is your staff’s Food Allergy training up to scratch? Visit Appetite Learning to find e-learning modules created specifically for workers in the hospitality industry. 

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