Since the new allergen laws were launched in 2014, we’ve advocated for more focus on allergens, quickly recognising the need for operators to perform periodic reviews of how well their sites provide allergen information to customers.
So we weren’t overly surprised to see the BBC’s Watchdog programme in November 2018 airing their investigation into allergen advice given at a selection of popular restaurants. For those who missed it; they found waiting stay giving information that was unclear or incorrect at five out of thirty dining venues that they visited.
Recent high-profile news reports too have exposed serious problems in our industry: such as the tragic case of Shahida Shahid, who died of a severe dairy allergy after being served a burger marinated in buttermilk as well as others. Each of those devastating cases serve to highlight the urgent need within the industry for renewed attention to how we deal with allergens. Whether it be better standards of training, increased availability of information for diners, or ongoing checks; we need to make sure there are no more tragedies caused by insufficient allergen information being provided.
It’s not easy to address. With the growing trend for more fluid menus, along with the more classic seasonal shifts (as well as other factors); providing consistent allergen information becomes a challenge. As a sector expert in hospitality auditing, we strongly advise employing a third party to audit your allergen systems and procedures, regularly and on an ongoing basis. We feel this must now become an integral part of an operator’s commitment to health and safety.
For more helpful tips and advice, we recently published a series of blogs on how to improve allergen management through training, documenting and service. Alternatively if you would prefer to get direct professional advice from our consultants on how your business should legally adhere to allergen regulations, then fill in the form on this page.