Council enforces new food allergy rules

Tuesday, 25 November, 2014

East Dunbartonshire Council is helping to keep local residents safe from potentially fatal food allergies, by helping to enforce new Government guidelines.

Food allergies are reactions by the body to a particular food. Reactions range from a rash to anaphylactic shock and in extreme circumstances, even death. For many people living with a food allergy this means that they can’t dine out or safely buy meals and snacks, where the food business is unable or unwilling to identify the potential allergens.

New Government regulations, being introduced on 13 December mean food businesses must now tell customers exactly what’s in the food they buy, and list 14 allergens – from milk to mustard and soya to sesame seeds.

The new rules are contained in the Food Information (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (FIR), and will be enforced in East Dunbartonshire by the Environmental Health Service.

Rhondda Geekie, Convenor of Policy and Resources said: "This is an important matter for anyone with a food allergy to know about. The change in the law means that food businesses will no longer be able to say that they don’t know what allergens are in the food they serve. They are also not allowed to say that all the foods that they serve could contain an allergen. Food businesses will need to know what is in the food they provide – and even more importantly, tell their customers.

“They will have to make sure that details of these allergens are listed clearly in an obvious place such as a menu, chalkboard, or information pack.  If allergen information is not provided upfront, the business will need to signpost to where it can be found, and staff will need to be able to answer questions from customers about what’s in their food.

“Our officers will be working with local food business to ensure they know about the new legislation and will be enforcing it once it becomes law.”

There are 14 allergens that will need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish:

Cereals containing gluten                      
Soya Sesame seeds         
Sulphur dioxide

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Date: Monday 8 December 2014