We had a great Business Gateway session on the provision of food information at Aros, Portree this week. With the deadline fast approaching and more sessions scheduled, I thought it would be useful to provide links to some of the materials used in the session. There is lots of material available online and direct links to those referred to in the session with a brief description of each is provided below. How you choose to use these resources is likely to depend upon the nature of your business and therefore you may wish to use some of them in a different ways.
One of the key sources of information is the Foods Standards Agency (FSA). Information available from their website includes:
A Matrix for Dishes and their Allergen Content will be helpful to many businesses. This summarises the 14 allergens and provides a chart for indicating which allergen is in which dish on your menu. Don’t forget to include garnishes, dressings and accompaniments in your assessment, and also that you need to indicate which specific nut or cereal containing gluten that your dish contains. You also need to make sure you remember to include drinks where appropriate, for example, wine served by the glass or in a carafe, beer on draft, cocktails and any other drinks where customers will not otherwise have access to allergen information.
For the kitchen, a Recipe Sheet may be helpful. This provides a summary of which allergen is in which recipe. This may accompany detailed recipes to ensure everybody makes the dish in exactly the same way using the same ingredients.
The Think Allergy Cards were produced as an aid for consumers, however, could be useful to your business as a means of communicating information about customers that have an allergy.
Information about allergens can be provided orally and if you choose to do that, you need to have a sign that clearly informs customers how they can access information about allergens in dishes. The Allergen Signage gives an example of how this can be provided.
A summary sheet detailing Changes to the Allergen Rules could be a useful staff training aid, or for passing to food suppliers so that they are fully aware of the new obligations you are subject to.
The Think Allergy Posters could be a useful staff training aid and show all 14 allergens.
The CookSafe Allergen Management record sheets have been available for some time, however, this offers a great opportunity to review your controls and house rules, and make sure your sheets are up to date.
The FSA also have Online Allergy Training which is a useful source of basic information for staff.
Other resources are available from lots of websites. Allergy Action provides training accredited by REHIS which can be provided by Tkm, and other resources including some really useful translations of key terms in a number of languages. Remember – the Regulations only require you to provide the information on your menus in English, however, it may be helpful to have information in other languages when dealing with customers that have a first language other than English.
There are also a number of commercial solutions on the market. If you are interested in this type of solution for your business, some information is available from http://www.cateringatyourconvenience.eu/home.htm who is working with EGS to produce systems to support food businesses.