The wrong nut

Ian Woodland

Ian Woodland
Director of Business Services, Assurity Consulting
14th February 2017

The mislabeling of a powder containing almond and peanut mix has resulted in a fine and costs of over £6,000 for a London based cash and carry.  

The powder was labelled as ‘almond mix powder’ and sold to a restaurant in Southend by Sims Enterprises Ltd. Fortunately for consumers who suffer from peanut allergies, a Food Standards Agency sampling programme was being carried out in the area by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. The EHO’s purchased a ‘peanut free’ Chicken Passanda from the restaurant and sent it for analysis, where it was identified that the nut content was predominately from peanuts rather than almonds. The restaurant was completely unaware that the ‘almond mix powder’ actually contained peanuts, so could not have prevented a customer with a known peanut allergy from consuming the food resulting in a potentially life-threatening outcome.

So how can you prevent this situation arising in your food business?

It is not practical for a food business to sample all their deliveries, however, you can protect yourself by:

  • Making sure your supplies are from a reputable source;
  • Producing a list of approved suppliers that have been checked for good food safety practices; and
  • Having adequate controls in place to check and record food deliveries meet a set of agreed standards such as long a shelf life, correct temperatures and no damage to the packaging.

The Food Information Regulations 2014 which enables local authorities to enforce the European Food Information for Consumers Regulation No 1169/2011 came into force in July 2014 and as this case highlights any contravention can lead to a significant fine.

For more information on these regulations or to find out how Assurity Consulting can help you with your food safety management, please phone 01403 269375 or click here for more information.