Information is key to compliance with new EU regulations
ON-TRADE operators should ensure that allergen information which is required to be provided under EU Food Information Regulations extends to their outlet’s wine list as well as its food menu.
Under the legislation, which came into force on December 13, 2014, operators must now be able to provide information on 14 common allergens in order to comply with the new legislation. Items covered by the legislation include gluten, milk and sulphites – ingredients which are said to be found in a number of products on wine lists.
Operators can comply with the legislation by either prominently displaying information on allergenic ingredients or by making it clear to customers that they can speak to staff to find out more.
A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) confirmed that having a prominent sign which states that allergen information is available from “suitably trained staff” and ensuring that staff members have access to accurate information would meet these requirements.
The FSA has produced a booklet to help operators ensure they are compliant with the regulations. The booklet – Allergen information for loose foods: advice on the new Food Information Regulations for small and medium businesses – can be downloaded from www.food.gov.uk.
Compliance with the new regulations is being assessed by local authority health services, with guidance for enforcement provided by the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC). The committee is said to have advised enforcement offers to take a “flexible approach” to enforcement for a “short period”.
Local authority enforcement officers are said to have discretion regarding action taken for non-compliance with the new legislation, ranging from informal advice and education to formal enforcement action where it is deemed necessary.