A Sobering Reminder: The Imperative of Allergy Compliance in the Hospitality Industry

At Serve Legal, we are deeply saddened by the recent news that another young person has lost their life due to mislabeled food items causing a fatal anaphylactic shock. On the 11th January 2024, 25-year-old Orla Baxendale died from an anaphylactic shock after eating cookies that did not list peanuts among the ingredients on its label. The reaction caused an allergic reaction too severe for her EpiPen.

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Baxendale’s attorney commented how Orla was ‘very careful and hyper-vigilant about everything she ate, and always thoroughly checked the ingredients on all packaging. In addition, she always carried an EpiPen with her and surrounded herself with people who know how to administer one.’ There is only so much that allergen sufferers can do before we expect the industry to step up and protect its customers.

This unfortunate incident underscores several crucial aspects that businesses in the hospitality sector must consider to ensure the safety of their customers.

  1. Accurate Allergy Information: It is paramount for establishments to provide accurate and comprehensive allergy information. Orla’s passing was a result of incorrectly labelled cookies, emphasizing the need for precise allergen details on all food items.
  2. Staff Training and Awareness: Trained and informed staff play a pivotal role in preventing allergy-related incidents. Businesses should invest in thorough training programs to educate their teams about the severity of allergies, potential consequences, and the importance of clear communication.
  3. Consistency in Presentation: Inconsistencies in how allergy information is presented can lead to confusion. Establishments should strive for uniformity in presenting allergen details, whether through an allergy matrix, dedicated menu section, or other means, to avoid misunderstandings.

We are committed to supporting the hospitality industry in targeting these sobering cases and protecting customers with allergies from the repercussions of mislabelled produce.

Should you wish to download some free allergy compliance resources to support your business, head over to our resources page for free access. Additionally, if this article has raised any concerns or questions, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team at businessenquiries@servelegal.co.uk for further information.