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'Don't risk it' campaign launches to help businesses get allergen complaint in North Warwickshire

Published on Monday, 16th March 2020

A campaign from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), supported by North Warwickshire Borough Council, highlights the risks of allergen non-compliance to food businesses.

The campaign is targeting small and micro food businesses. It hopes to increase food businesses’ knowledge of and compliance with the food allergen rules and also highlights the possible financial or reputational consequences of making a customer ill through inaccurate allergen information.

The EU Food Information for Consumers (FIC) legislation came into force in December 2014, and requires food businesses to make information on 14 allergens available to consumers. The 14 range from common allergens, such as peanuts and gluten, to less well-known triggers for allergic reactions such as mustard and celery. Around 2 million people in the UK suffer from allergies, including 2% of adults and 8% of children.

Michael Jackson, the FSA’s head of regulatory compliance said: ‘It’s been more than five years since the introduction of this legislation and though there has been real progress in how food businesses provide allergen information to their customers, many establishments still need to step up and do better. Working in partnership with North Warwickshire Borough Council we are dedicated to helping food businesses get it right, both for their customers and themselves.

The number of people living with food allergies and intolerances has increased in the last decade, so ignoring them doesn’t make good business sense. We also know that these customers are often the ones who decide where friends and family eat out. Being able to give them the information they need can result in repeat business, not only from them but their whole social circle.

We know that food allergy can be fatal and also that consumers with food allergies have to make decisions every meal , every day in  order to avoid reactions. It’s vital that food businesses give their customers information they can trust, to enable them to make safe food choices. Why would you risk not doing this?’

The provision of accurate allergen information enables customers to make safe food choices when eating out, and food businesses have a legal requirement to be compliant with allergen law.

Steve Whiles, Environmental Health Manager at North Warwickshire Borough Council said:

‘We have seen the high fines and reputational damage that can result when a customer is made ill because of inaccurate or lack of allergen information, bad management in the kitchen or poor processes and training.

‘That’s why we want to work with the FSA to support the businesses in North Warwickshire to ensure they are providing accurate allergen information. We encourage them to adhere to the law and help keep those at risk safe.’

Food businesses can get more information and free resources to help them get allergen compliant at