Key Updates on Allergy Safety at the Anaphylaxis UK Business Forum

Just before Easter, Serve Legal attended the latest Anaphylaxis UK Business Forum where there were several interesting and important topics of conversation. The presenters covered the latest research in effective allergy labelling, new advancements in treatments for allergies, including Palforzia and Xolair, and the recent campaign from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which focused on highlighting the dangers in assuming that products labelled ‘Vegan’ are free from allergens such as milk, eggs, crustaceans or molluscs. More information about this important campaign can be found here.

As Corporate Members of Anaphylaxis UK, Serve Legal are privileged to be part of the conversation around how to improve the lives of those with serious allergies and to hear first hand from key agencies, such as the FSA, on the latest updates around the allergy regulations and recommendations which impact our clients in the food retail sector.

It was encouraging to hear directly from Sushma Acharya, Head of Policy and Strategy for Food Hypersensitivity at the FSA who delivered an insightful update on their recommendation to Government around mandating that written food allergens be present on menus in food businesses (Owen’s Law).

The FSA has also acknowledged that there should be an expectation for a conversation between customers and staff around allergies to ensure an added layer of protection; another key ask from the Owen’s Law campaign. Not taking the severity of customer’s allergies seriously can result in miscommunication or assumptions about the severity of their dietary needs. Additionally, if customers are not directly asked about their allergen requirements by a server upon arrival, they face a potentially awkward and unnerving situation where they need to raise the topic of conversation after placing their order. Those customers who may feel too shy to ‘make a scene’ about their requirements may feel anxiety about their meal and the attentiveness of their server. It is important for staff to be forward thinking and show customers they take allergies seriosuly from the second they are seated and welcomed. This reassures people with allergies of the consciousness of staff towards their dietary needs and allows for a more enjoyable and relaxing experience, free from an incident which could cause serious harm to their health.

The FSA confirmed that, regardless of the time taken for these recommendations to be considered by Ministers, the Agency will work to develop strong guidance for food businesses to support compliance with these new recommendations and possible future regulation.

At Serve Legal, our Customer Experience Allergy Audit service is already supporting food retailers to manage and improve their compliance with key allergy safety policies, including the new Owen’s Law recommendations around staff engaging in conversation with customers about allergies. Get in touch today if you’d like to learn more about how this service can support your staff and customers as well as reduce risk across your business.

For more information about our Customer Experience Allergen Audit.

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