From the 13th of December 2014, legislation came into force which requires catering outlets to make sure information on the 14 major allergens is available to any customer with a food allergy. You must be able to provide accurate allergen information for your dishes orally to customers on request. This information can be be available to staff and others in a written, recorded form.
If you are selling non-prepacked food, you will need to display a sign at the point of service (i.e. on a menu, chalkboard, etc.) that informs them they can ask a member of staff for information about any allergens in the food the business serves. This can be in the form of a sign at the counter or bar where people order, or a sentence on your menu if you only operate table service.
The Food Standards Agency has prepared signage for businesses to print out and use for this purpose. You do not have to use the exact sign linked, and can use its wording (or similar) on your own signage.
It is strongly recommended that you have some written documentation on the allergens present in the foods your business serves. A simpleway of doing this is by completing a chef’s allergen matrix - this document clearly shows which allergens are in which dishes you serve. This matrix can then be shown to customers.
If you do keep written information on the allergens in your foods/drinks served, you must review it regularly or whenever you change any of the dishes you offer or add new ones (for examples, if you offer Daily Specials or similar). If you change any prepacked products you use (e.g. pre-prepared sauces), you should check the labels to check if you are adding any allergens into a recipe. Make sure you include any ‘specials’ or dishes you occasionally make!
The Food standards Agency and Allergy UK have other useful resources available for food businesses.
RSPH Level 2 Award in Identifying and Controlling Food Allergy Risks
Bath and North East Somerset Council run taught courses for the Royal Society of Public Health's Level 2 award in Identifying and Controlling Food Allergy Risks. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01225 477508 to register your interest.
Online Food Allergy Awareness Training can also be accessed on our eLearning Hub. The course is priced at £15 + VAT, and is aimed at food handlers, anyone who works in contact with food or manages people who do.