News from WhitCo

Growing emphasis on food allergies

The rise of food allergies is a problem for sufferers and catering establishments alike. This year saw the jailing of a Birmingham restaurateur for seven years for manslaughter after one of his customers died after eating a curry that contained peanuts. To read more about this case, follow this link to the Daily Telegraph website.

Police say that the case has sent a very clear message to the catering industry, warning them that they have a duty of care to their customers.

Martin Goldman, chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “If you ignore your responsibilities and regulations and put lives at real risk then we will not hesitate to prosecute.”

A jury at Teesside Crown Court heard how the restaurateur, Mr Zaman, who had run up £294,000 debts in his six restaurants in York and North Yorkshire, was cutting costs by using cheaper ingredients and employing untrained, illegal workers.

If you and your establish require assistance on understanding the EU law on food allergies ( EU1169/2011), please see the FSA website, by following the link here.

Among the most recent changes to the legislation are:

  • For pre-packed foods, allergen information must be emphasised in the ingredients list.
  • For non-prepacked foods (including catering), allergen information must be made available to consumers.
  • Nutrition labelling will be required for most pre-packed foods and this must be presented in a consistent format.
  • A minimum font size for the mandatory information on food labels eg. name of the food, ingredients lists, date marks etc.  This also extends to voluntary front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition information.
  • Country of origin information will be required for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of sheep, pigs, goats and poultry.  Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013 lays down the rules for this requirement and will apply from 1 April 2015.  Meat already packaged may be sold after this date until stocks are exhausted.
  • Date of freezing (or first freezing where products have been frozen more than once) will be required for frozen meat, frozen meat preparations and frozen unprocessed fishery products sold as such to consumers.
  • Compositional standards for minced meat. Where minced meat exceeds the fat and/or collagen:meat  protein ratios in the regulation, it may be sold on the UK market using a national mark along with information about its composition.
  • Drinks with high caffeine content will have to be additionally labelled as not recommended for children or pregnant and breastfeeding women, with the actual caffeine content quoted.
  • Added water over 5% must be declared in the name of the food for meat products and meat preparations which have the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion or carcass of meat.  The same will apply to fishery products which have the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion, fillet or whole fishery product.

If you would like a handy guide to the legislation just get in touch. Call the Whitco sales office and ask for our Food Allergy training manuals. These can be sent to you by email or by post – or you can download them from this website. They are supplied free of charge