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During a recent inquest it was reported that a boy who had an allergy to dairy died after eating a chicken burger which had been marinated in buttermilk.  The specialist environmental health officer from the local council told the jury that the allergen register at the restaurant where the boy had consumed the ill-fated burger was in breach of the legislation as it contained “anomalies” and was “incomplete”.

It is an offence to provide misleading or incorrect allergen information that does not comply with the requirements of The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation, which came in to force in December 2014.  For ‘eating out of home establishments’ this means information needs to be provided to customers on the 14 allergens used as ingredients for any food and drink sold on their premises. This can be provided either verbally by staff or in a written format such as on an allergen matrix.

Penalties for non-compliance with food safety legislation include unlimited fines under the new sentencing guidelines. Sadly, cases of non-compliance usually only come to light when a customer has suffered a serious or fatal allergic reaction.  For some allergic customers, consuming even a trace of the allergen that must excluded from their diet can be fatal.

Risks to customers and to your business can be reduced by:

  • ensuring that records of ingredients used in recipes together with the allergens present within them are kept and regularly updated
  • always double check food packaging and food specifications
  • training front of house staff on good communication with the kitchen and food allergen procedures
  • being transparent about ingredients used and kitchen practices e.g. oil used for multiple food products

To avoid cross contamination issues, ensure any ingredients that contain allergens are stored separately and clearly labelled. During the food preparation and the cooking process measurers must be in place to ensure that cross-contamination is avoided. Customers may ask for information from any member of staff, so all staff must be fully trained and aware of the procedures for providing food safely to food allergic customers. All staff you employ must be aware of the risks surrounding allergens and the importance of providing correct information to consumers



To help you and your staff comply with EU Allergen Legislation Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 – we have developed an award-winning online menu management system, Piranha, which will enable users to:

  • create menus using supplier specific product information including allergen and nutrition information, which is maintained and updated on your behalf
  • categorise menu items to produce an ‘allergen matrix’ which details all allergens, which are present in a menu, on a single sheet

Furthermore, Piranha will enable you to:

  • accurately cost your recipes using your live invoice prices
  • automatically monitor and control recipe costs
  • seamlessly cost event functions

  • achieve desired gross profit at all times

Our dietitian is available to provide staff training on food allergens and provide advice on special dietary requirements.

If you would like to book quick demo on Piranha and how the system can support you contact us on 01252 705200 or email

Anna-Maria Holt

Company Dietitian and Health & Wellbeing Lead at Pelican Procurement Services

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