Allergy danger is highlighted

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Related tags: Food, Allergy

Pubs and restaurants have been told to give their customers better information about which dishes on their menus could cause an allergic reaction.The...

Pubs and restaurants have been told to give their customers better information about which dishes on their menus could cause an allergic reaction.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has called for a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of food allergies.

Three-quarters of deaths from food allergies involve food eaten in restaurants, pubs and cafes. Over the last 20 years the number of people with serious food allergies has increased an enormous amount.

Now the CIEH and the Anaphylaxis Campaign has called for food retailers to improve their labelling to avoid unnecessary deaths. In the past few years people have died after eating a coronation chicken sandwich, a piece of lemon meringue pie and Italian ice cream.

The CIEH said that while food manufacturers have made significant improvements to food labelling, many caterers still have a long way to go.

Accurate product descriptions on menus, up-to-date ingredients information, careful preparation and service and communication between customers and staff can save lives, according to the CIEH.

Hazel Gowland, spokeswoman for the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said: "This is a major problem for at least one person in 100. Food businesses may be more aware now of serious food allergies, but may not know how to manage them."

Jenny Morris, food policy officer for the CIEH, said: "Comprehensive information about food content is essential to allow consumers to make informed and safe choices about the food they eat. Everyone involved in food production, preparation, service and safety needs to be aware of the serious risks that food can pose for allergic individuals."

Foods that can cause allergic reactions include nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, fish, and fresh fruit.

The CIEH wants:

  • A national training programme for food enforcement officers on allergy awareness and food safety
  • Legal requirements for pubs and restaurants to provide improved and accurate labelling of ingredients on menus
  • Creation of young people's workshops to alert them about allergies

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