New allergen warning card launched
A new allergen warning card for people suffering from food allergens has just been launched.
The wallet size allergen warning card, produced by Shropshire Council’s public protection team, can be filled in and printed off by the individual, who can then present the card to restaurant staff to inform them of their allergens.
In the UK 10 people die each year from food-induced anaphylaxis. Recently there have been several serious allergen incidents in Shropshire. Young people seem to be at particular risk, where there appears to be an increasing issue with allergens.
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:-
“We want to help reduce the number of cases of allergic reactions when the public eat out in Shropshire. For some people the smallest trace of a food allergen can cause a fatality.
“With many people now booking Christmas parties and going out to social events during the festive season, we thought this would be a good time to launch our allergen warning card and to try and help prevent further cases of allergic reaction to consumers when eating out.
“You can help make sure restaurant staff know about your food allergies. Just write or type the food(s) you are allergic to into the space on the cards, print the page, then cut out the cards and carry them with you. You can present the card to restaurant staff to alert them of your allergens.
You can download the allergen warning card here: https://shropshire.gov.uk/media/13976/allergen-warning-card.pdf.
Shropshire Council’s public protection team have pulled together some simple guidelines to help:-
When you plan to eat out
- Check the menu online and call ahead to ask what the business’ policy is on food allergy and intolerance. Does it offer food that is suitable for you? And if not, are the staff able to make a special meal for you? (Food businesses must offer you allergen information, but are not required to offer you a different meal to suit your need).
- Be very clear about your allergy/intolerance, and give examples of the foods that make you ill.
- If you don’t feel the person you’re speaking to understands your needs, ask for the manager or someone who could better understand.
- Ask how the food is handled and cooked, and whether there is a chance of cross- contamination from cooking equipment or ingredients.
- Check allergen information is accurate. Has there been a last-minute recipe change or ingredient substitution?
- Be extra careful if the restaurant serves complex dishes, as allergens could be less obvious or hidden.
- If you have any doubt about the staff understanding the importance of your dietary needs, do not book the restaurant.
- Speak to your server or the manager. Be clear about your food allergy/intolerance and confirm your previous conversation with the staff. Hand in your Shropshire Council allergen warning card.
- Check the meal choices are suitable for you or that they can make changes to suit your dietary needs.
- Remind them to be careful of cross-contamination or added allergens from glazes, sauces, cooking oils, and to handle your meal with care.
- Place your allergen warning card where you are sitting.
- If you have any doubt about the staff understanding the importance of your dietary needs, do not eat there.
For further information around food safety for consumers visit https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/environmental-health/food-safety/food-safety-for-consumers/