Food Business Operators beware

New European-based allergen legislation, which is set to come into force in the UK on 13th December 2014, could spell the end of the special board and menu blackboard in pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafés.

This upcoming legislation is contained in the European Union Food Information for Consumers Regulations (EUFIC), and is binding on the UK government. The regulations are designed to inform and protect consumers, and will focus on 14 named major allergens and intolerance-causing substances. The obligations will apply in addition to other obligations relating to non-prepacked food substances.

From 13th December 2014, Food Business Operators (FBOs), including publicans, restaurateurs, hoteliers and café owners providing fresh and freshly-prepared food, will be required to give details if any of the named allergens are used in the preparation of the foods they serve. The allergen information will have to be easily visible and legible for every fresh and freshly-prepared dish they offer. And this is full details, not alluded-to details. It will not be sufficient for FBOs to state they don’t know whether or not a food contains an allergen, or to state that a food may contain allergens.

Surveyors, Morgan & Clarke, who referred to the new legislation as the “death of the specials board and menu blackboard,” said: “Whilst it was hoped that the simple notification on a chalk blackboard or specials board stating “dishes may contain allergens; refer to our menu” would be acceptable, this will definitely not be sufficient for a specials board or a menu that is only set out on a blackboard. It is quite likely that specials will, individually, have to carry the details of the dish contents."

With Hull announced as the UK’s City of Culture 2017 last week, we’ll start to see more and more tourists visiting the city in the coming years. So if you own or run a business that prepares and sells fresh food in Hull, now is the time to check if you’re compliant with this new allergen legislation and get advice if you’re not.

Need advice on how to comply with allergen legislation?

Call Justin Graves now on 01482 324252 or email jng@gosschalks.co.uk.

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