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Get to grips with EU allergen labelling law

21 May 2014

The Institute of Hospitality helped more than 100 professionals get to grips with the new EU allergen labelling laws during an authorative seminar organised by the Sussex Branch.

The event on 19 May at the Sofitel Gatwick was an excellent opportunity to clarify their concerns and areas of confusion regarding the new EU regulations and learn from the expert speakers, including represenatives from Defra, BHA, the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Sodexo, and Fretwell-Downing Hospitality.  The evening was rounded off by a delicious gluten-free buffet provided by David Woods, Sofitel Gatwick's chef.

Steve Pugh, head of the food labelling team at Defra, provided in-depth information on the regulations and their application. Steve feels the EHO and TSOs will provide lots of support to foodservice professionals.

Nikki Hutchins, associate for regulatory risk and compliance at law firm Blake Lapthorn disagreed and stated that EHOs and TCOs will not have adequate time or the inclination to assist all the foodservice businesses that will need support in applying the new food labelling regulations.

Lynn Regent from the Anaphylaxis Campaign, the charity for severe allergy sufferers, brought home why these regulations are vital. Lynn said her members aren't "fussy eaters", they are people who can and do die from ingesting an allergen. Often the deaths occur in the 15-25 year old age group who aren't being as closely supervised by parents.

Alexa Baracaia put a human face (her son Sidney's, to be precise) on the labelling issue. Her son has multiple food allergies and, as a trained journalist, Alexa is vocal on Twitter and her blog about the difficulties in locating food for her child. Alexa is seeking some normalcy when purchasing food outside the home, but there are many foodservice businesses that are under pressure and may not make this a priority, or perhaps more often, they are scared to take responsibility for something that could make a child very sick. Alexa is always happy to talk about her situation. It was evident that her son's serious allergies have been life-changing for her and the wider family.

Are you ready for the new allergen information regulations?

A full set of the presentations from the Institute of Hospitality Sussex Branch Seminar can be downloaded here.

Here are the individual slides from the evening.

1 IoH Opening and Closing
2 Steve Pugh DEFRA
3 Nikki Hutchins, Blake Lapthorn
4 John Dyson
5 Lynne Regent, Anaphylaxis Campaign
6 Alexa Baracaia
7 Wan Mak Presentation
8 Andrew Pond, Fretwell Downing
9 Karen Fewell