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Tips for dealing with Food Allergies

GH-Training Solutions

Tips for dealing with Food Allergies

GH Training Solutions Comments Off on Tips for dealing with Food Allergies

Following on from the recent food allergy prosecution, what steps can a food business take to ensure that they are keeping customers safe?

Here are a few simple steps to take:

  • Make sure staff have been trained and know the 14 allergens and really understand how life threatening they can be.
  • Ensure everyone takes allergies seriously, this is not customers being difficult, but rather their life depends on what we do.
  • In high risk environments such as nurseries, schools and hospitals, consider making them ‘nut free zones’.
  • Check the ingredient list, by checking the recipe, the label or asking the supplier. Check for ingredients that may not be obvious, e.g. crustaceans used in wine production.
  • Don’t assume everyone knows the ingredients of a dish, what may be obvious for the chef is not necessarily obvious for the waiter.
  • Ensure ingredients containing allergens are clearly labelled and separated.
  • Take care that allergens are not being introduced into the air where they can travel, e.g. flour particles during sifting or mixing.
  • Colour coding of cloths and equipment can help with the separation of foods containing allergens and those that are allergy free.
  • Don’t forget hands, uniform and gloves can act as vehicles for the spreading of allergens – take care to prevent this happening.
  • Once allergens are there, they cannot be ‘cooked out’ like bacteria, so we need to make sure they’re not there in the first place.
  • Have you got clear information available for staff and customers which is easy to read and understand.
  • Consider cutting down the chain of communication, the less people the message travels through, the less chance of it being lost or distorted.
  • Make sure your emergency procedures are clear and well known to staff so that they can get help quickly should they need it.

Did you know that Allergen training is included in the syllabi of the Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 food safety courses?

In house allergen specific courses can also be arranged.

Food Allergies – The price of (not) training

GH Training Solutions Comments Off on Food Allergies – The price of (not) training

In the UK, like most developed countries, the increase in people with food allergies is described as an ‘Epidemic of food allergies’ with several possible contributing factors.

Whatever the cause, this epidemic is not something the food industry can ignore and is set to increase in the future.

Since changes in food safety and hygiene regulations in 2014, there is a legal requirement for information to be provided for both packaged and unpackaged food.

As food providers, we also have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure we take reasonably practicable measures to keep our customers safe from allergies.

This together with changes in sentencing legislation has meant in the last 2 years we have seen an increase in prosecutions relating to food allergies as well as an increase in fines and prison sentences handed out. The most recent being a nursery who was fined £10 000 following a child in their care being rushed to hospital after being fed pesto containing cashew nuts. Staff had been told that the child was allergic to nuts, but failed to read the ingredient list. Findings showed there was a failure in food safety training.

Although finding the time and money to pay for food safety and hygiene training courses seems onerous, it would have cost a lot less than the £10 000 fine, let alone the cost of a damaged reputation. More importantly, what is the cost of a life?

Read the article here:

GH Training Solutions are an established provider of in house and public training courses for food safety Levels 1-4. Click here for more details.