The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK has unveiled a series of measures aimed at protecting people with food allergies and intolerance’s, following the conclusion of an inquest into the death of a teenager who suffered a fatal reaction to a Byron burger on his 18th birthday.(See/Search ‘allergies can still kill’)

The actions include:

  • issuing a “clear and easy-to-follow” aide-memoire for environmental health officers and trading standards officers which is focused specifically on the action they should be taking within business in relation to food allergies;
  • publishing an urgent update of the ‘Safer Food Better Business’ guide, including a review of the allergens information included;
  • at the end of the year, launching an awareness campaign to remind businesses and consumers about how to keep people with food allergies safe;
  • implementing a pilot project to develop better reporting of allergic reactions;
  • focusing on the concerns raised by Carey’s case at the next Industry Leadership Forum on food hypersensitivity in November;
  • meeting with Byron and the local authorities to discuss the detail of Owen’s case and lessons learned;
  • commissioning a full root cause analysis of the Byron incident to ensure that lessons are shared.

Simon Wilkinson, Byron’s chief executive, said in a statement after the inquest: “We take allergies extremely seriously and have robust procedures in place, and although those procedures were in line with all the rules and guidelines, we train our staff to

    SIMON WILKINSON,                 BYRON’S CEO

respond in the right way.

“We have heard what the coroner said about the need to communicate about allergies and it is clear that the current rules and requirements are not enough and the industry needs to do more.

“We will make it our priority to work with our colleagues across the restaurant industry to ensure that standards and levels of awareness are improved.”

It’s all down to communication and training. I still believe that when all procedures and training have been exhausted, it is incumbent on the client to ensure the food outlet is aware of their allergies. Once you have informed them, the onus is on them. I just hope they take notice and act accordingly.

(some content courtesy of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper)