Food allergens is an extremely important topic in the western world and up to 8% of children and 4% of adults are thought to have a food allergy of some description. Evidence suggests that the number of people with food allergies is on the rise, meaning food producers need to be increasingly aware of the risks associated with using allergenic ingredients and the effect it can have on their customers. In addition to this, the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 came into force Dec 13th 2014, which will mean the requirement for having allergen information available for consumers will be extended to non pre-packed foods and catering situations.
The General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002, prohibits ‘unsafe’ food being placed on the market. When deciding whether a food is unsafe, the information a business provides to its customers, including on food labels, in menu descriptions, and the information provided by serving staff, are taken into account.
For a person with a food allergy, dishes containing the food they react to are ‘unsafe’, even though they are safe for most other people. So that means businesses will need to make sure that, when asked, they give people with food allergies the information they need about whether the food they react to is in a particular dish.
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