Foodservice wholesaler warns of potential food allergen legislation loophole

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Catering Foodservice Restaurant

New labelling from JJ Food Service
New labelling from JJ Food Service
A leading foodservice wholesaler has warned of a grey area concerning the new food allergen requirements that come into force at the end of the year.

From 13 December, the EU Food Information Regulations will make it necessary for pubs to tell customers if a menu item contains traces of any of 14 different allergens.

However, according to Enfield-based JJ Food Service, if a wholesaler buys a product before the enforcement date, it can still be sold on after the 13 December deadline without the correct labelling – effectively putting pubs at risk of inadvertently misinforming customers.

JJ Food Service chief product officer Ali Guvemli said some suppliers are mitigating the problem by offering new labels that can be downloaded from their respective websites to use on old stock.

He added that JJ was in the process of making the website links available to its customers.

Easy implementation

Guvemli said the company was helping to make implementation easy for its catering, on-trade and foodservice customers by re-designing the labels on its own-brand range – which makes up more than a third of its overall sales – and ensuring that its entire supplier base is compliant. 

He explained: “Caterers will need to make sure they are working with suppliers and wholesalers that are legally compliant. We’ve responded by evaluating all our suppliers to make sure that they are ready for the change – some of them have been slow to respond so we’ve stopped working with them.”

Guvemli added: “We have also used the opportunity to highlight accreditations like Free Range, GMO-Free and Red Tractor, which we believe are key selling points for our customers.”

JJ customers will be given a leaflet explaining the information, which can be included on menus and marketing materials, and can also be referred to when selling.

“We don’t just want to educate ourselves, we also want to give our customers the materials they need to be prepared”, Guvemli said.

The British Hospitality Association is launching a guidance toolkit to help its members implement the regulations. It warned that the new law could cost the foodservice industry £200m a year.

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