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Council’s campaign to prevent food allergy deaths

Council bosses have launched a campaign to help businesses adhere to allergen-related legal requirements and protect people with potentially fatal food allergies.

Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards officers have teamed up with environmental health officers at South Derbyshire District Council and Amber Valley Borough Council to launch a campaign aimed at the county’s food businesses and their staff.

Council bosses said that, although there have been no food allergy-related deaths in Derbyshire, they are are keen to highlight the dangers so that businesses don’t put customers at risk or fall foul of the law, and want to reassure customers that it is safe to eat out in the county.

The group has created a video that highlights the 14 different food groups that can affect people with specific allergies and gives tips and advice for people working in all types of food establishments at all levels. It also details important dos and don’ts around food preparation.

Legal requirements that all food businesses must adhere to are highlighted in the video, including what allergen information they must provide to customers and the precautions they need to take when serving customers who have a food allergy. These include the dangers of cross-contamination, correct storage of ingredients and the use of thoroughly cleaned utensils and workspaces.

An accompanying poster and a management checklist are also available to help catering businesses assess their ability to safely provide allergen-free food.

Responsibility for enforcing food allergen requirements lies jointly with Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers. Cllr Tony Holmes, Amber Valley Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing and public health, said:

‘Customer safety should be at the top of the priority list for all food businesses, and it’s essential that they follow the strict guidelines when it comes to allergens and serving people who have a food allergy.

‘Amber Valley takes the risk posed by food allergens seriously and we are pleased to have participated in creating this video and awareness-raising campaign. Businesses have a responsibility to take the necessary steps to protect their customers from allergens and we are committed to helping businesses, where we can, to be compliant and run a successful operation.’

For more information and advice, businesses should contact the county council’s trading standards team or their local district or borough council environmental health department.

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