By Graeme Murray
THE introduction of food allergen labelling could cost the trade millions, Scottish restaurant leaders have warned.
New EU legislation comes into force on December 13 and food providers must inform customers if dishes contain any of the named 14 allergens.
Ryan James, chairman of Glasgow Restaurant Association, said it was “a big ask” for small firms to comply with the new rules.
He said: “It’s the nanny state gone mad.
“As far as I understand it you have to list every single ingredient that’s an allergen.”
James, who owns the Two Fat Ladies restaurant group, added: “It’s going to cost a lot of money, it’s millions of pounds if you take in the staff hours involved as well.”
Jackie Geoch, policy director at the British Hospitality Association, said: “The challenge will be greatest for bars and restaurants who frequently change recipe or menu items.
“As a result, the BHA has calculated that it could cost the industry up to £200 million per year to implement new sourcing and management processes, adapt menus and websites and regularly brief and train staff.”
Allergens listed in the new EU Food Information Regulation (FIR) include gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, fish, peanuts, lupin, tree nuts (such as walnut, hazelnut, almond), soya, eggs, milk, celery, mustard, sesame and sulphur dioxide.
Ian Todd, head of catering development at Punch Taverns, said: “All pubs serving food need to take action now and ensure they are compliant in time for the regulation change.”