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New Rules Aim to Protect 2 Million Food Allergy Sufferers
For the first time food establishments will have to provide details of their products in respect of the 14 most common food allergens after new rules came into force on Saturday.
There has been an 87% rise in UK hospital admissions relating to allergies since 2002 with an estimated 2% of the adult population and 8% of children affected. The allergens covered by the Food Information for Consumers Regulations include crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, soya and sulphur dioxide.
Guidance from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) says information can be provided through menus, websites, or as part of a conversation with a member of staff. Food businesses that fail to comply will face a sliding scale of sanctions from Trading Standards Officers ranging from further advice to formal enforcement action with fines up to a maximum £5000.
Speaking to the BBC news website Lindsey McManus from Allergy UK said; “We hope that restaurants will see the advantage of going this extra mile as it offers huge benefits to the allergic customer and this will only encourage business. It will enable people to eat out in confidence, knowing that allergens are monitored in dishes, and that the regulations are being adhered to.”
There are over 5,000 allergen related hospital admissions related to food products every year with an average of ten deaths.