It’s food allergy awareness month this May. There are several initiatives going on across the world, which is great to see. Allergy awareness needs promotion so that everyone can understand the dangers of allergic reactions regardless of severity.In this article, we’ll look at two campaigns with great messages from different parts of the world. The UKs ‘Speak Up for Allergies’ campaign and from the US, the ‘Our Teal Way of Life’ campaign.
It’s time to “Speak Up for Allergies”
A new campaign launched by the Food Standards Agency is highlighting the need to speak up for allergies. Young people are being invited to contribute, whilst businesses are encouraged to check they have the right controls in place.Lets take a look at the campaigns key messages.
Businesses - check your allergen controls!
Many businesses are still worried and confused, unsure what they are required to do. The advice provided by the FSA makes it very easy to understand.A simple, practical guide for smaller businesses and retailers on how to manage hygiene and allergens in the kitchen can be found in the Food Standards Agency “Safer Food, Better Business” pack for caterers, now available digitally and paperless in SFBB+ App, which you can download from your App store (with a 90 day free trial).Apple store downloadGoogle store download
Taking an order
If you provide an online menu or order form, you must make sure it’s clear what you’re selling, including all relevant allergen information. This can be done orally (over the phone) or in writing (through your website or a printed menu).You should have a statement on your website to advise customers where they can obtain allergen information before they place their order.If you want to create a digital menu with all the information you need to keep your customers safe. Why not try our software free for 7 days?
Train your staff
Make sure your staff understand what allergens are – but more importantly, what your controls are. Staff can access simple, compliant online training in the essentials of allergen safety at www.sfbbplus.co.uk/trainingMake sure staff are aware of how to take orders and that they have clear written allergen information to refer to, so that they can respond to allergy requests accurately. The benefit of recipe, menu and digital menu management is this information isn’t open to human error. The information is on display to the customer when choosing. Any requests to remove allergens can again be easily managed, as the chef can identify immediately the ingredients that need replacing or removing.
Hygiene guidance for food delivery
The four main things to remember for good hygiene in your food business are the 4Cs:
The 4Cs are a key component of Level 1 (for ALL food handlers) and Level 2 food hygiene training (for handlers of open or higher risk foods), also available online at www.sfbbplus.co.uk/training.
If during the preparation or handling of your dishes you cross contaminate allergen containing products with those that do not contain them – this can be dangerous for your customers. Often you cannot see this contamination. It is important for food businesses to take steps to avoid cross-contamination in food preparation.Allergic reactions can be triggered by even the smallest of prior contact.
Allergen guidance for food delivery
Food businesses need to tell customers if the food they provide contains any of the 14 specified allergens as an ingredient. Consumers may be allergic to other ingredients, but you are only legally required to provide information for these 14 allergens.For information regarding the 14 allergens, please read our article –14 food allergens every kitchen should know - KafoodleIf food is sold online or by phone through distance selling, allergen information must be provided at two stages in the order process.You must provide allergen information:
- before the purchase of the food is completed - this can be in writing (on a website, catalogue or menu) or orally (by phone)
- when the food is delivered - this can be in writing (allergen stickers on food or an enclosed copy of a menu) or orally (by your delivery driver).
“Speak Up for Allergies” when eating out
Who is it that needs to speak up? The second part of the campaign is aimed at young people aged 18-21. Research shows that young people with allergies feel more confident eating out in restaurants when their friends are supportive.Young people are at a higher risk of experiencing food allergy reactions and are less likely to tell a restaurant about their allergy, particularly if they have eaten a meal from the same place before.The Speak Up for Allergies campaign aims to encourage young people to always speak to the restaurant about their food allergies and never to assume a meal will be safe, as ingredients can change.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TTHzreGA-4&feature=emb_imp_woyt[/embed]
‘Our Teal Way of Life’ campaign by FAACT
A campaign created for Food Allergy Awareness Month May 2022 by FAACT (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team). FACCT want to raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergies and most importantly, provide ways to show your friends and family with allergies that you care.The campaign is 7 days, each day has a different message. We’ve summarised the important message they are trying to spread below.
- Food allergies should not be mistaken for food intolerance. Allergies involve the immune system & can be life-threatening.
- Nine food types account for 90 percent of all food related allergic reactions. These are peanut, tree nuts, egg, soy, dairy, wheat, fish, shellfish, and sesame.
- Read food labels every time you eat it. Ingredients and even manufacturers can change and just because something was safe before, doesn’t mean it will be safe forever.
- Hand sanitiser is not sufficient when trying the remove allergens. Use warm soapy water or commercial disinfectant/wipes.
- Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction and can happen rapidly and can become life-threatening.
- Past allergic reactions don’t determine future reactions. The severity of the reaction can change.
- It is crucial that those with allergies to carry auto-injectable epinephrine devices. Early detection as well can make a big difference, so learn and understand the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Allergy awareness campaigns are a great way to raise awareness and it's great to see so many food allergy month participants. It’s important to remember that allergies effect people every day and that allergies are increasing. Both in types of allergies and quantity of people effected. At Kafoodle, it’s our mission everyday to help keep those with allergies safe and businesses/individuals that serve food informed. We partner with other companies that are making a difference in the food technology industry, such as the SFBB+ App. If you want to know more or find a new way to store all your ingredient and recipe information and gain information to keep customers safe and scale your business. Please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Kafoodle team here.Sources:https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/news/fsa-encourages-young-people-to-speak-up-for-allergiesAdvice for teenagers and young adults with a food allergy | Food Standards Agencyhttps://www.foodallergyawareness.org/education/food-allergy-awareness-initiatives/food-allergy-awareness-week-month/