Protecting people who have potentially fatal food allergies so they feel confident when eating out in Derbyshire is at the heart of a new campaign.
Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards officers have teamed up with environmental health officers at South Derbyshire District Council and Amber Valley Borough Council to launch a video aimed at all food businesses and their staff in the county.
Although there have been no food allergy related deaths in Derbyshire, trading standards officers are keen to highlight the dangers so that businesses don’t put customers at risk or fall foul of the law, as well as reassuring customers that it is safe to eat out in the county.
The video highlights the 14 different food groups that can affect people with specific allergies and gives tips and advice for people working in all types of food establishments at all levels. It also details important dos and don’ts around food preparation.
Legal requirements that all food businesses must adhere to are highlighted, including what allergen information they must provide to customers and the precautions they need to take when serving customers who have a food allergy. These include the dangers of cross-contamination, correct storage of ingredients and the use of thoroughly cleaned utensils and workspaces.
Responsibility for enforcing food allergen requirements lies jointly with trading standards and environmental health officers, which is why the county council’s trading standards and the environmental health departments of South Derbyshire District Council and Amber Valley Borough Council have worked together on the campaign.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “Customer safety should be at the top of the priority list for all food businesses, and it’s essential that they follow the strict guidelines when it comes to allergens and serving people who have a food allergy.
“We want people to be safe and feel confident that they can eat at any Derbyshire establishment without worrying if they are going to fall ill or worse.
“We have all heard about the tragic incidents in other parts of the country and we want to make sure that food businesses, managers and staff are all aware of the dangers and are educated about the issues around allergens.
“The new video is easy to follow and shows all the dos and don’ts, and we hope businesses will find it a very useful tool.”
An accompanying poster and a management checklist is also available to help catering businesses assess their ability to safely provide allergen-free food.
For more information and advice businesses should contact the county council’s trading standards team or their local district or borough council environmental health department for further information.