The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is encouraging food businesses in Laois to provide consumers with allergen information on foods.
The FSAI has released the findings of a national audit that shows an unacceptable level of non-compliance by food businesses nationwide when it comes to providing consumers with accurate written information on 14 specified allergens in non-prepacked food.
The authority says all food businesses are legally obliged to provide consumers with accurate written information in relation to 14 allergens whether the food is prepacked or non-prepacked. Three in every 100 people in Ireland have a food allergy and they require accurate information about the food they purchase in order to avoid serious and sometimes fatal health consequences.
The audit found that almost one third of food businesses did not provide any written allergen information. Of the food business that provided written allergen information; just 24% actually provided accurate allergen information.
Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI stated that the findings of the audit are very worrying as they indicate a lack of awareness or willingness by food service businesses to prioritise the safety of people with food allergies two years after the law came into effect.
“Allergic reactions to food make people ill and in particular situations can be fatal. Whether consumers are eating out, getting takeaways or having food delivered to their home or workplace, food businesses have a legal obligation to provide accurate food allergen information in writing," she said
The FSAI found that some of the reasons put forward by food businesses for the high level of non-compliance included confusion and lack of awareness about the 14 food allergens that must be declared.
The FSAI’s free online tool MenuCal also provides an easy to manage allergen information system which enables food businesses to easily identify which allergens are in the foods they have prepared.
For more information on how to comply with the legal requirements, food businesses can visit here
The FSAI’s Targeted Audit of Allergen Information on Non-Prepacked Food is available on its website.