Restaurants falling short on allergen training

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants falling short on allergen training

Related tags: Allergen

A survey of 500 hospitality workers has found that almost a quarter are not confident advising customers with serious allergies.

The study, conducted by software provider Fourth in November 2019, saw one in six employees claim not to receive regular training or updates about allergy issues.

Just over a third (35%) said they had the training to cope when faced with a customer suffering an allergic reaction, while 31% were unsure what action to take.

The study also polled 1,000 consumers and found that 73% were not asked if they had allergies on their last trip to a restaurant.

Just over a third (36%) claimed their meal contained ingredients not listed on the menu.

The findings come ahead of the implementation of ‘Natasha’s Law’ in 2021,​ which will require foods such as packaged salads and sandwiches prepared and sold on-site to display a full list of ingredients.

The legislation was passed following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered a fatal reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette in 2016.  

There is currently no equivalent legislation for dishes served direct from a kitchen in hospitality venues, such as hotels, pubs and restaurants. 

“This issue is the hospitality industry’s cause celebre,” says Ben Hood, CEO of Fourth. “It is clear, from the tragic high-profile customer incidents, the far-too-many ‘near misses’ that we are all aware of, plus this study and the inconsistent experience from venue to venue – be that a restaurant, pub, café or hotel – that action is critical.”  

‘Natasha’s Law’ comes in to force in October 2021 and will initially only apply to businesses in England.

Last week the operators of an Indian restaurant in North Tyneside were fined almost £4,000​ after serving food containing peanuts to a teenager with a nut allergy. 

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