The Allergy Aware Scheme will recognise restaurants, hotels and pubs that provide 'exceptional service' for people with food allergies and intolerances and those that offer gold standard allergen management.
The charity said the scheme also aimed to 'put peace of mind on the menu' for the estimated 2m people in the UK who suffer from food allergies.
Allergy UK CEO Carla Jones said: “Severe food allergy is a potentially life-threatening condition. Those with a food allergy know only too well the risk posed when eating out and frequently choose not to.
“The Allergy Aware Scheme aims to help caterers seize the opportunity to deliver a ‘gold standard’ service to a section of the community that, until now, has been very much excluded. We will provide recognition to businesses that don’t only take allergies seriously, but that are going above and beyond legislation, to deliver an exceptional service for the allergic community."
EU legislation brought into force in December last year now requires all catering outlets to provide information on which of 14 allergens are present in every dish. Allergy UK said with around 4,800 hospital admissions a year being due to allergic reactions to food, safety for customers was more important than ever before.
How it works
Under the Allergy Aware Scheme, businesses will be required to sign a charter to ensure best practice and compliance. They will then receive training from providers Allergy Aware Kitchen before they can be accredited.
Interested businesses can join the scheme initially for a twelve month period, and will be subject to renewal on an annual basis. Those successfully accredited will also receive a premium listing on Can I Eat There? an online restaurant and menu directory for the allergic and coeliac community.
Businesses already signed up to the scheme include London’s Rainforest Café and Nibsy’s Gluten Free Coffee Shop in Reading.
Naomi Stoker, Owner, Nibsy’s said: “Joining the Allergy Aware Scheme was an easy decision to make. Everything at Nibsy's is entirely gluten-free, and for us it's important to ensure that customers with other food allergies or diet requirements can trust that they are in safe hands.
"When living with food allergies, snacking or eating out can be challenging, but I think the Allergy Aware Scheme will help customers to identify the places that understand and hopefully cater for their needs.”
For more information on the scheme or to sign up contact Allergy UK on 01322 619 898 or email email@example.com.