Takeaways – Are You Providing Legally Required Allergen Information?
Any company providing food to consumers needs to make sure they know exactly what they’re legally required to do in terms of food safety and hygiene in order to protect customers, particularly where allergies and allergic reactions are concerned.
But it seems that there are some out there being particularly cavalier with consumer health, with a new BBC Panorama investigation revealing that there are a number of restaurants selling their wares on the Just Eat website that have discrepancies between what they’re serving and what information they’re providing their customers with.
According to the Guardian, food businesses in the UK are legally required to provide information about 14 major allergens but Just Eat doesn’t require companies using the site to provide any allergen information at all, either on the website or the app. Instead, people are expected to get in touch with the restaurants themselves prior to ordering so as to ascertain whether or not a meal is safe for them to eat.
Not only that but over 100 restaurants on the Just Eat app were found to have hygiene ratings of zero, despite some of them being openly promoted as the very best takeaways in their local area.
Chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health Shirley Cramer said: “The food hygiene rating system is vastly important for us understanding how good a restaurant is. I don’t think in anybody’s mind [a zero-rated restaurant] would be a local legend.”
There have been several high profile instances where people have died because restaurants and eateries have failed to display allergen information properly. Megan Lee, 15, died after eating at the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire in 2017, despite the fact that she made it clear she had a nut allergy when using the Just Eat app.
And in 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, also 15, died on board a flight after eating a baguette from Pret a Manger that had sesame in it, which she was severely allergic to.
A third case was seen back in 2015, after 18-year-old Shahida Shahid, who had a dairy allergy, died at the Almost Famous burger restaurant in Manchester after she was served a chicken burger that had been marinated in buttermilk.
Keeping all members of staff properly trained and up to date with all the latest information and developments with regards to food safety and hygiene is the best line of defence that companies working in this sector can have.
Taking courses like the CIEH level 2 food safety for catering exam could well be the way forward if you’re to avoid incidents such as the ones mentioned above. If you’d like to find out more about these kinds of training opportunities, get in touch with us here at Learning Plus today.