Around 2 million people in the UK suffer from food allergies, about 2% of adults and 8% of children.
Food allergies are widely accepted as being on the increase and reflecting this from December 2014 all food businesses have been required to provide information about the allergenic ingredients used in food sold or provided by them.
Recent research from the Food Standards Agency and Allergy UK suggests that one in four allergy sufferers have had an allergic incident when eating out in the last year and one in five of these has resulted in a hospital visit. Whilst this is recognised as an improvement it seems that the problem of eating out for the country’s 2 million sufferers have not has not been resolved. For small businesses it may be frustrating to be required to comply with another time consuming safety initiative. However failing to comply and having a food safety issue in your business can quickly lead to negative publicity.
Importantly if, as a small Food Business Operator, you can ensure your compliance and gain the trust of your customers in this respect you are likely to experience an increased loyalty to your business. The parents of the 8% of children with an allergy or intolerance are likely to be pleased to have somewhere which they can rely on in this regard to take their custom.
Detailed guidance from the Food Standards Agency on this topic can be found here. Breaching these requirements is a criminal offence and the penalty is a fine, the level of which will vary according to the severity of the breach and the size of the business. For more information on the implications of a breach on food safety, click here.
It is therefore vital to ensure your business is in line with these meets the necessary requirements and you should seek legal advice if in any doubt. At LHS Solicitors we have a dedicated team of Health and Safety experts if you need any assistance.
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The survey found one in four has suffered a reaction while eating out in a restaurant or cafe since new allergen labelling legislation came in a year ago. It also found that nearly one in five (19%) of those allergic reactions resulted in a hospital visit. - See more at: https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2016/15103/quarter-of-people-with-food-allergies-suffer-reactions-when-eating-out#sthash.QHBr6c4O.dpuf