What your
food business should
know about allergens
🥘 🥜🥛

Provide up to date and accurate allergen information to customers
and follow compliance while handling allergens

What is allergen information?

Allergen information is information that describes the presence of certain food allergens in foods. Food businesses must provide allergen information to customers if required by law. In addition, food businesses must provide allergen guidance for employees who handle allergens in the workplace.

Why is allergen information important?

Allergen information is important because it allows consumers with food allergies to make informed choices. When consumers know what allergens are in a product, they can avoid them and make healthier choices for themselves and their families. Additionally, if people know that a product is marketed as gluten-free or vegan, then they can purchase it without fear of being exposed to allergens.

In addition to providing information about allergens on packaging, allergen guidance is also achieved through websites and app development. Websites have created an easy way for customers to find out the allergens in a product before they buy it. Allergen awareness has been made accessible through technology by creating apps that tell customers which products are safe for them to eat. This is an extremely convenient resource for those who are looking for a food that's free of specific ingredients so they don't have to worry about cross-contamination.

Allergen training for staff

Some food businesses may choose to train their staff on what foods they can and can't use. There's no need to have a specialist come in and advise your staff, but if you're not sure, it will only cost you a little bit of time.

This is especially important for staff who work with food that could contain allergens or are skilled in allergen handling or preparation.

Implementing an allergen training program would help reduce the risk of cross contamination due to lack of awareness. For example, if an employee has access to raw meat while they're cooking without any knowledge of the risks, there is a high risk of cross-contamination being made.

It also helps when there is a large volume of products that are produced and handled each day in order to ensure that good hygiene practices are adhered to at all times.

Where can you provide allergen information?

There are many places you could provide allergen information, including:

• Labeling

• Menu

• Website

• Email newsletters

• Shopping bags

Allergen information should be made available to all customers on request.

General guidance on handling allergens

Any food business that handles or stores allergens, with the exception of restaurants, must have allergen information on hand and available for customers. Furthermore, business must provide up to date and accurate information to customers. The most common way businesses provide this information is through their website. The business then ensures the information is still current by carrying out a food allergy risk assessment. This will identify any areas in which they need to improve the quality of their products and services.

The key aspects of providing accurate allergen information are ensuring there's an updated list of allergens that includes new ingredients found in food, as well as maintaining an internal process for updating the website when new ingredients are added or removed from their product range. Additionally, it is important that any allergen guidance provided on websites be easily accessible and easy to understand.

Food business tips for handling allergens

Food businesses can provide up to date and accurate allergen information to their customers by following these tips:

- Provide an allergens fact sheet on your website with the most common allergens, including food items.

- Include allergen advisory symbols on your menu, providing a visual illustration of what is inside your food product.

- Create a contact list that includes both customer and staff members who are allergic to any food ingredients so they can be reached in case there's a need for emergency assistance.

- Make sure you have the correct certifications for your facility and staff members when it comes to handling allergens.

Conclusion

With more and more people being diagnosed with allergies, it is important for food businesses to be aware of the allergen information. Allergens can be found in many places and it is important to be equipped with the knowledge to handle them. Food businesses should have staff members trained on how to handle allergens and where they can find information on how to do this.

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