14th May 2019

INFORMATION UPDATE

 Issue No.  2019/08

 Sentient
              

 

 ALLERGENS – WHAT’S THE LATEST

Everyone knows, or should know by now, that allergies or food intolerances can be life changing, and in some cases, tragically, fatal. Over the last few years, there has been publicity surrounding people who have sadly lost their lives as a consequence of suffering an allergic reaction following consumption of food they have purchased from a variety of outlets.  These range from small, independently owned takeaways to nationally recognised chains.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), there are 4,500 UK hospital admissions a year from food allergy; 10 food allergy deaths per year; 1 in 4 people surveyed said they or a relative had a reaction eating out; 8% of children affected by food allergies or intolerances; 2% of adults.

Last week the FSA proposing a further amendment to the existing requirements on suppliers to publish allergen information and therefore it is appropriate to provide an allergen update.

So what are Allergens?
Allergens are:

  • Cereals containing gluten – wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats & kamut
  • Crustaceans – crab, lobster, prawns, langoustine & shrimps
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Lupin (Lupin seeds and flour in some types of bread & pastries)
  • Milk
  • Molluscs – squid, octopus, mussels, cockles, periwinkles & snails
  • Nuts – almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan, macadamia & Queensland
  • Peanuts – including groundnuts or monkey nuts
  • Soya
  • Sesame
  • Celery & celeriac
  • Mustard
  • Sulphur dioxide & sulphites (preservatives in dried foods, drinks)

What are the current requirements?
It is well established that allergen information must be provided for foods for direct sale whehter they are non-packed or pre-packed.

Food manufacturers are already required to include allergen details on labels on all pre-packed foods. 

Food businesses (e.g. restaurants, hotels, pubs, sandwich shops) selling wrapped or un-wrapped that is prepared or wrapped on site are required to provide information on allergens.  The information can be supplied on the menu, on chalkboards, tickets or provided verbally by an appropriate member of staff as well as in other formats made available to the consumer.  It must be clear and inconspicuous, easily visible and legible.

Where the information is to be provided verbally by a member of staff, then it will be necessary to make it clear that the information can be obtained by asking a member of staff.  It is insufficient for a food business operator to say that they do not know whether or not a food contains an allergen, nor is it enough to say that all their foods may contain allergens. In other-words, food businesses must provide the specific allergens contained in each and every food item that they serve.  It is also unacceptable to say their food contains all 14 allergens if they know it doesn’t.

FSA Proposed Changes
The FSA have last week advocated that allergen information should be provided on pre-packed direct sale food to give consumers greater confidence in the food they eat.  This means that foods that have been packed on the same premises from which they are being sold, (e.g. a pre-packaged sandwich or salad made by personnel earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase) should, the FSA believe, have a label containing all the applicable allergen information. Currently this is not a requirement.

The FSA are to advise Government Ministers that full ingredient labelling should be mandatory for all pre-packed food for direct sale.  The FSA believe that full ingredient labelling would deliver a significant improvement, and greater consistency by following the same labelling system that consumers are familiar with, as found on other pre-packaged food that are bought in.

The proposal would not affect sandwiches that are made to order or have been pre-prepared but are not pre-packed (e.g. those unwrapped in a display cabinet, for example).  The situation would remain unchanged in that the Food Business would be able to provide the allergen information upon request, either in written form, or verbally, as it is expected that the customer can speak with the person who made or packed the product. Signage to that effect is required.

In Summary
Therefore, in summary, the FSA proposal will only extend the requirement to provide printed allergen information on those pre-packed sandwiches/salads etc. that are made and sold on the premises if the Government agree to the FSA proposal and make it a mandatory requirement. New legislation may be required to implement this.

We will need to wait and see how the Government respond.  As soon as we hear, we will update you accordingly.

If you have any concerns about how you manage food safety within your business, please do contact us on 03456 446 006. 


 

 

 

Sentient

Employment Law
Health & Safety
Personnel / HR
Food Safety
Food Hygiene
Management Training

Sentient

 

 

 

 

Sentient

Making sense of it all

 

Sentient - Training

 


Sentient adj ...

"capable of perception"

"capable of independent thought"

 

Can we help you?
If you think so, please contact us at advice@sentientuk.co.uk or call UK 03456 446006

To subscribe for these E-mails click here or to access our archive of previous E-mail Updates please click here.  

Click here for details of the services available on our website. 

Our new online training courses are now available to view here

Our current Open Course Training Programme is available to view here

Follow us on Twitter @SentientUk

The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.

To unsubscribe to this information newsletter please click here and complete the unsubscribe form on our site.
Warning do not click this link unless you wish to be removed from this update newsletter.