Raising Allergen Awareness
It is World Allergy Week, and a good time to remember the children and adults with food allergies and other allergic diseases.
This year’s theme is ‘Allergy Care Does Not Stop with Covid-19‘. This is an important message for us to remember during this extremely challenging time.
As lock down rules continue to ease, and people begin to return to work or school, there will be a change to the way food is prepared and consumed.
It is important that allergen management is given the same attention as before the start of the pandemic despite the additional measures for preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Managing allergen risk
The pandemic has brought about many positives among including heightened hygiene practices, such as increased hand-washing, and surface cleaning. These behaviours are key in preventing cross-contamination of allergens.
Despite this, it is vital that those with food allergies don’t let their guard down. Equally, caterers and catering teams, will need to ensure that their allergen risk management is robust.
Adhering to legislation
Schools, hospitals, care homes, and other catering establishments must continue to comply with existing allergen labelling and food safety legislation. Additionally, food businesses operators including institutional caterers should start preparing for the full ingredient labelling on all pre-packed foods legislation, which will come into effect from 1 October 2021.
Advice for caterers
- Show empathy towards customers with food allergies – returning to the ‘new normal’ will be stressful and may raise anxiety
- Take the time to understand your customers’ needs
- Update menus and allergen register to reflect changes to dishes and the new food offer
- Check ingredients and allergens thoroughly in all products – with many suppliers delisting products substitutions may vary
- Ensure allergen signage is clearly on display, where required
- Carry out an food allergen audit, if necessary
- Provide refresher allergen awareness training to catering teams as part of the ‘back to work’ process
We are here to help
If you need help with allergen legislation our Company Dietitian Anna-Maria Holt is here to help you and support you. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Food labelling and allergen menu advice
- Allergen Awareness Training – delivered remotely due to current social distancing restrictions
- Online Level 3 Allergen Training – accredited by Highfield Qualifications