The research conducted by foodservice supplier Unilever Food Solutions also shows that 75% of respondents were unable to identify the allergens affected by the legislation, despite 67% of publicans saying they were sometimes, or frequently, asked to provide information by customers.
But the study also shows that 40% of operators have read about the new allergen law in the media and a third had obtained information from the Food Standards Agency.
As little as 13% said they had received information from their environmental health officer and operators are now looking for help to prepare for the legislation change – with 60% of publicans saying they will now ask their suppliers more questions.
Unilever Food Solutions technical manager Wendy Duncan said: “It’s apparent from our survey and queries we’re getting from our customers, that operators are concerned about the new laws. Less than a fifth of pub businesses (19%) said they felt ready for the change. Around 90% of publicans told us that they would like a handbook to help them prepare and 44% believe they need to invest more in training.”
The new law
In 2011 the government announced the decision to extend the existing allergen regulations which comes into play on 13 December 2014.
Operators will now be required to answer any questions from customers about allergens that may be present in the food they sell.
Under the new rules, operators must be able to provide information on the following 14 allergens – eggs, milk, crustaceans (shellfish), mulluscs, fish, peanuts, sesame, soya, suphur dioxide, nuts, cereals containing gluten, celery, mustard and lupin.
The company has produced a guide for caterers with more information about the 14 allergens which is available at www.ufs.com/allergens