Food business banned from offering allergy-free food

Ian W

Ian Woodland
Director of Business Services, Assurity Consulting
29th July 2019

As reported in Environmental Health News, the HEPN was served after Environmental Health Officers visited the African Village restaurant in Birchfield Road, Birmingham and found a lack of knowledge about allergens amongst staff and areas where food could be cross contaminated.

It is believed this is the first time that a HEPN has been used for this purpose in England and highlights how the reputation of a restaurant can be damaged if the management of allergens isn’t taken seriously. Furthermore with 44% of British adults suffering from one or more allergies according to AllergyUK, an HEPN could also have a significant financial impact on a restaurant in lost business. 

Managing allergens effectively is critical to running a successful food business. Allergens are a hazard and should be managed using a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACPP) system, in the same way as physical, chemical and microbiological hazards are currently addressed. However, where as microbiological and chemical hazards can be reduced to acceptable levels, allergens must be prevented from entering the food that is being prepared for a customer who has notified the food business about an allergy. Getting it wrong could be expensive for a food business and more seriously could threaten the life of a customer.

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