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Food businesses: are you prepared for changes to food allergen information?

Published: 18/12/2014

Flintshire County Council’s Food Safety and Food Standards team is reminding food businesses in the county that new rules have now come into force, which will affect the way they provide allergen information. From 13 December 2014 all food businesses need to verbally explain or signpost allergenic information for the food they sell or provide. Food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions and the numbers of people with this condition are growing. The primary cause of food related deaths in the UK is due to allergic reactions when food is consumed outside the home where allergenic ingredients have not been declared. The new rules mean that all food businesses need to inform customers if any of 14 allergenic ingredients are present in the food they make or serve. This can be communicated to customers in writing on menus, verbally through explanations by staff or signposted to where or how more information can be found. Although the new EU rules have come into force this month, they were published in October 2011, to give food businesses three years to get ready for the new provisions. Cllr Kevin Jones, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Waste Strategy, Public Protection and Leisure, said: - All food businesses in Flintshire will now need to provide this vital information. We understand food businesses work long hours, leaving little time to read through new guidance. However, easy-to-understand information is available on the Food Standard Agency’s website to help businesses with these changes. - Businesses are required by law to provide clear and accurate allergy information. If any business needs advice and guidance on the new rules, they can get in touch with their local authority food safety officer for help. Hilary Neathey of the Food Standards Agency in Wales said: - Food allergies affect approximately 5-8% of children and 1-2% of adults. This means that around 2 million people in the UK are living with a food allergy. People with food allergies can react to very small amounts of food, such as a teaspoon of yoghurt, a single peanut or even an egg glaze used to brush over pies. - There is no cure for food allergies, so the only way for people to manage the condition is to avoid the food that makes them ill. This is where providing accurate food allergen labelling and information is important, and why food businesses, local authorities and the Food Standards Agency are all working together to ensure consumers have clear and accurate information. Advice is available at