Major organisations are actively joining forces with the Food Allergy Training Consultancy to help educate food businesses and venues on massive changes to food allergen labelling legislation. These organisations currently include; The Food Standards Agency, The Anaphylaxis Campaign, Sodexo, 3663, Ask Italian Trading Standards, Reading Scientific Services, Foods Matter & FreeFrom Food Awards, Tourism South East, Warburtons, Young’s Seafood, Udi’s Gluten Free (Boulder Brands) and Red House Foods.
From December 2014, current EU food labelling laws will change meaning all establishments or suppliers providing food products will need to provide allergy information to customers. There are 14 different food allergens which will need to be clearly listed in order to comply with the new laws. This includes on packaging, menus, shelving or information provided by staff (who will need to know the contents of each product). Trading Standards will be enforcing the new requirements once they come into force and non-compliance could result in prosecutions.
There are an estimated 21 million adults in the UK who suffer from at least one allergy, yet many food businesses have little knowledge or expertise in this area. The Food Allergy Training Consultancy has been established to help businesses fully prepare for the massive changes, by offering both training and consultancy services. To launch the business, a special one-day conference and ‘Free-From’ food showcase is being held on 22nd October at the Novotel Hotel in Southampton, which is open to all food businesses and venues to find out more about what this will specifically mean for them. The ticketed event, ‘New Food Allergen Information Regulations – Is Your Food Service Business Ready?’, chaired by Karen Fewell of Digital Blonde, will bring together top industry experts from major organisations to demonstrate best practice, as well as talk about the nasty pitfalls to avoid.
Here’s what some of the industry leaders supporting the event have to say…..
Wan Mak, Sodexo’s Head of Nutrition and Dietetics, says: “Sodexo has been involved at the very outset when the regulations were first announced for consultation. I believe it is important that companies like ours take the lead in influencing policies wherever possible and setting a good benchmark within the industry that enables consumers make informed choices. For the allergic individual, the increased visibility and consistency of such information will offer them more choice, increased confidence and frequency in eating ‘out of home’. It’s a win-win situation but one that requires careful planning and comprehensive knowledge from food operators on what the regulation entails, such that any potential risk is minimised to both companies and their consumers.”
Catherine Hinchcliff, Head of Customer Marketing at 3663, states: “We are delighted to be participating at the event on 22nd October. As part of our wider activity we are launching 48 products in our gluten free range this Autumn to support customers who are looking for free from choices. We have had considerable interest from customer’s right across the board – for example: schools, leisure, universities, contractor caterers and care homes, and we are looking to further expand our range to include more products going forward. The new legislation can only enhance these products sales ensuring the end customer has a more informed choice.”
Marketing Director at ASK Italian, Catherine Salloux, says: “Listening to our customers is vital to the on-going success of ASK Italian. Whilst we have always invested a lot of time into staff training on our menus and highlighting known allergens, in May 2013 we took the decision to go the extra mile for the growing numbers of gluten-intolerant diners, and became NGCI accredited. We now offer specially marked dishes and gluten-free pizza bases and pastas, to ensure we can meet their needs. We’re very proud of the results of this journey, and especially with the feedback from customers who can relax and enjoy their meals with us as a result. We’re delighted to be able to share our experiences at this event.”
Event Organiser & Founder of the Food Allergy Training Consultancy, Caroline Benjamin, adds: “I am absolutely delighted that these major organisations recognise the importance of accurate food allergy labelling, and are so keen to get involved and help others in the industry. The new legislation will mean significant changes for all food businesses, both large and small, and our event aims to showcase the best practice techniques, and the common mistakes to avoid. With less than four weeks until the event, places are filling fast.”
Further information including the agenda, speakers (and their biographies) and exhibitors can be found online at www.fatc.co.uk/events