The number of people diagnosed with having a food allergy has been increasing in recent years with over one million people in the UK living with a food allergy. In the North West it is also estimated that allergy affects at least a quarter of all children living here. As a school meal provider, we have been catering for children with food allergies for many years; our nutrition team supports both families and school catering teams to ensure suitable meals are provided each day in school. As a result, we were prepared and ready for the introduction of new EU legislation, the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EUFIC).
The regulation came into effect 13th December 2014, and changed the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is prepacked, sold loose or served out of home. Caterers must be able to answer any consumer queries regarding the 14 major food allergens that have been identified as issues for people living across Europe. Caterers can no longer say ' I don't know' or 'it could contain' when asked if a recipe contains any of the 14 allergens. This is to ensure people living with food allergy's can make informed and safe food selections.
To ensure our catering teams at the front of service are fully supported and prepared for any questions about food allergies, every operation managed by Manchester Fayre has it's own bespoke allergen handbook. Each time a new menu is issued, the handbook is also updated by our nutrition team. Be assured that the training and information provided to Unit Managers has transformed them into our very own Allergy Ambassadors. As part of the legislative requirements, we must also have on view a poster to sign post customers to asking for allergen information; to view a copy of the poster click here.
If you would like to find out more about the allergen legislation, you can visit the Food Standards Agency website at www.food.gov.uk