European legislation requiring the labelling of allergens in food has been in place since 2011. Yet a recent survey undertaken by Suffolk Trading Standards in the UK indicates that many restaurants, delicatessens and take aways continue to mislabel or misinform the consumers. The survey found that a staggering 25% of foods sampled for the survey had traces of undeclared allergens that could cause illness or even fatalities if eaten by an allergic consumer. The UK Food Standards Agency figures show that around 10 people die in the UK each year as a result of undeclared allergenic ingredients.
Failure to declare allergens in food can have serious consequences for food business operators. Not only can they be prosecuted for breaches of the food safety legislation, but in extreme cases they may be prosecuted for manslaughter, as happened also in the UK in 2018.
It is estimated that 5% of children and 3% of adults in Ireland suffer from a food allergy. It is vital that food businesses protect themselves and develop good systems to identify and communicate allergens in their food to consumers. Good HACCP and food safety systems are the best way to develop and implement these systems.
A food safety and HACCP course with the EHAI will help you to develop these systems. The Primary Course in Food Safety has been designed by EHOs, Environmental Health Officers working in the field and overseeing implementation of the legislation on a daily basis. Don’t delay – safeguard your food business and book a course with the EHAI today.