THE NEW EU Food Information Regulations could cost food businesses as much as £200 million a year according to the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
The EU allergen regulations, which come into play on 13 December, seek to provide the public with better information about the foods they are eating out of home. Each food outlet including; restaurants, hotels, schools and hospitals, will have to accurately track, record and communicate what menu items contain any of the 14 most common foods to cause allergic reactions, such as nuts, shellfish and eggs.
The BHA has suggested that the new regulations could cost the industry up to £200 million each year due to new sourcing and management processes, adapting menus and websites and regularly training staff. The figure was calculated based on the fact that 8 billion out of home meals are served every year and, with up to 2% of the public suffering from food allergies, individual requests for information could reach an estimated 160m.
Jackie Grech, Policy Director for the BHA said: “These new regulations coming into force this winter and will make it easier for people to get information about which allergens are present in the food they are eating out of home.”
“Food businesses will be expected to learn how best to communicate these new regulations to their customers and the BHA is today launching a toolkit, forum and workshops to help food businesses of all sizes.”
The BHA’s guidance toolkit was designed by its food advisory team as well as members and law firm Bond Dickinson to help hotels, restaurants and caterers implement the new regulations.
The challenge will be greatest for restaurants who frequently change recipe or menu items; pop-up or event caterers; establishments with high staff turnover; and smaller establishments who may struggle with the resources to track, identify and record all allergens used from main dishes through to garnishes and drinks