ALLERGEN AWARENESS

Environmental Health inspectors and their Trading Standards colleagues work to ensure food businesses comply with food law. From helping business owners keep their premises clean and tidy, to having good hygiene practices when handling, storing and cooking food, and understanding labelling requirements, Council staff help ensure the food we eat is safe and what it says it is.

In 2014 new legislation meant business owners had to make sure information about food ingredients was available to consumers, and to make sure consumers with allergies were protected from the potentially fatal consequences of anaphylactic shock – the condition that people with allergies could experience if exposed to an allergen like nuts, peanuts, fish and so on.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards colleagues from across the North West met last week to discuss best practice, and ensure the approach of each Council was consistent.

Cllr Paul Cox, Cabinet Member for Food Safety at Hyndburn Council, said; “Nationally, there is a fatality from anaphylaxis every 6 weeks. Businesses and consumers need to understand that while many businesses are able to put in place the demanding requirements necessary to ensure allergens are not accidentally present in the food they serve to allergy sufferers, not every business is large enough or able to employ enough staff to provide the complete separation that is essential. Our enforcement officers are addressing this on every inspection, and reflecting this in the hygiene score of the premises, to ensure that all consumers including those with allergies, are informed when it comes to food safety in premises.”

The Council’s Food & Safety Team has organised a free allergen management workshop for Hyndburn food businesses on 26 September. For more information, contact the Food Safety Team on 01254 388111.

For more information on allergens visit: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/allergen-guidance-for-industry

To watch LCC’s short film about someone with a food allergy, visit: http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/lancan/resources/a-day-in-the-life-of-chloe/