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FSA publishes draft guidance on new EU allergen laws

By Carina Perkins+ , 28-May-2014
Last updated on 28-May-2014 at 16:57 GMT2014-05-28T16:57:46Z

The new FSA guidance explains the new obligations and requirements on foodservice businesses when it comes to allergen ingredients

The new FSA guidance explains the new obligations and requirements on foodservice businesses when it comes to allergen ingredients

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published draft guidance to help small and medium-sized food businesses- including pubs, hotels, bars and restaurants - comply with new allergen laws.

The guidance explains the main changes and obligations introduced under the new legislation, which will come into force across the EU - including the Uk - in December.

Mandatory obligations for foodservice businesses include:

  • Allergen information should be easily accessible, visible and clearly legible
  • Where it isn’t practical for this information to be in a written format, businesses should use clear signposting to direct the customer to where this information can be found, such as asking members of staff.
  • Allergen information should be made available for the entire dish served, and where food is provided in a buffet format, it should be provided for each item separately.
  • Businesses providing allergen information orally from a member of staff must ensure it is consistent, accurate and verifiable upon challenge. Verification of this information should be provided in written form.

The guidance also includes details on the scope of each of the 14 allergenic ingredients covered by the new legislation: gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame, sulphar dioxide and sulphite, lupin and molluscs.

Preparation

Earlier this month, BigHospitality published a detailed report on the new allergen legislation , with advice from operators and experts.

The Forum of Private Business recommended that foodservice businesses start monitoring ingredients in their food and categorising them based no allergens, ensuring suppliers notify them of allergy changes and creating separate storage and preparation areas for allergen and non-allergen containing ingredients.

Hospitality businesses were also encouraged to start thinking about how they would handle the paperwork and staff training needed to achieve compliance by December.

Ben Hood, chief executive of Fourth, said this new guidance would also help operators prepare for the changes.

“It’s imperative that all eating-out businesses make sure they read the guidance, and fully understand what is required of them,” he said.

“Dealing with costly legislation that adds complexity to foodservice businesses is a requisite part of the skill set for the successful operator.

“As ever, planning and preparation will be key – eating-out businesses should start preparing now, to minimise any business risk.”

To read the new guidance and submit comments, visit the FSA website .

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