Allergy advice for takeaway operators

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Public protection officers are reminding residents and restaurant and takeaway operators to discuss any allergy problems before food is ordered.

New national regulations come into force this year which means outlets have to tell customers about potential allergens which may be in their food.

Last year a 35-year-old archaeologist who was working at Bradford Kaims, near Belford, died after eating a takeaway meal that is believed to have contained peanuts.

Victoria Barrington, head of public protection at Northumberland County Council, said: “No one should underestimate the impact that an allergy can have.

“Someone who is allergic to peanuts will suffer anaphylactic shock and there may not be enough time to save them.

“Other allergens can have equally dramatic consequences and people who suffer allergies need to make sure that the food they eat is safe.”

Ms Barrington added: Part of that is making sure that they tell the staff and those running restaurants and takeaways about their allergies before any food is provided.

“Similarly, business operators need to make sure that their menus carry clear warnings if products like nut oils are used in their kitchen. Warning signs around the service area in takeaways are always a good idea as well.”

The Public Protection Team currently visit around 2,000 food outlets a year – and checking for any potential allergen issues forms part of their work.

Councillor Dave Ledger, Policy Board Member for Public Protection said: “Incidents like the death in Northumberland are always tragic for the family and friends but we have to learn the lessons from it and make sure that residents and businesses do all they can to prevent a recurrence.

“New regulations will come into force this year that will require food business operators to tell customers about any allergens that may be in food and our staff will be visiting businesses to explain what is required and to help them to comply.”

Any businesses wanting more information on their responsibilities can contact the Public Protection Team on 01670 623870.

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