At each level of employment, staff and management should be fully conversant with their responsibilities relating to food allergies, measures in the kitchen environment to protect consumers and the correct labelling procedures. Food laws leave no scope for error; are you confident that your team is achieving 100% adherence, every working day?
If there is any doubt, consider urgent food safety training.
Invest in food safety
You may not welcome the expenditure for renewing employee knowledge at least every 3 years but this investment is likely to be significantly less than the ramifications of a food hygiene or cross contamination incident which could place a consumer at serious risk, at worst, they could die from consuming an allergen.
Potential loss of reputation, costly legal action and closure can be avoided by ensuring that food laws are adhered to via an HACCP food safety management system and regular kitchen hygiene checks to identify practice flaws, knowledge gaps or heightened risks which need to be assessed.
In house health and safety audits and kitchen hygiene checks should be carried out without notice to replicate the effects of an EHO or FSA visit. This delivers an accurate picture, occurrences you may not be aware of if you are largely front of house or office based.
Perhaps someone working in a nut free area has carried a knife across the kitchen from another workspace, this is an error. If dairy has been included in a meal but the menu has not been labelled to reflect it, this must be addressed. Please don’t wait for an incident or an official visit from the authorities, a proactive approach could save distress and lives.
Food Safety Training
Specialist food safety training companies including Food Alert offer outstanding food allergy courses.
Food Alert’s training takes half a day and enables attendees to:
- Understand what allergens are.
- Realise the importance of being aware of allergic reactions.
- Learn more about the requirements of the food laws.
- Have essential skills and knowledge to prevent food poisoning from allergens.
- Have a better understanding of how to comply with legal obligations.
- Learn how allergens can lose their potency and the impact this has on labelling requirements.
NHS data reveals that food allergy rates have risen sharply in the last 20 years, but the reason is unclear. 1 in 14 young children has an allergy. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and fruits are the most common food allergies.
In all cases the body’s immune system incorrectly defends the consumer against proteins it perceives to be a threat. After a release of chemical antibodies, milder reactions include itching, rashes, facial swellings and vomiting. Anaphylactic shock causes breathlessness, a lack of focus or consciousness and can lead to death. A food intolerance is never life threatening.
An antihistamine provides allergy response relief, but the best overall protection is to ensure that food laws are clearly understood and enforced in the premises with delivery of food safety training to staff.
Allow your customers to make informed, accurate choices. This starts with knowledge acquisition and effective in-house practices.