Allergens? Not in our products
Last week the new Food Information Regulations came into force, bringing the subject of allergens to our attention.
From 13 December 2014 all food businesses must give information about allergens ingredients used in food or drinks they make or serve to their customers.
These new regulations have been introduced to enforce the EU’s new Food Information for Consumers Regulation. Giving information about allergens is now a legal obligation, so has to be taken seriously. In fact the whole issue of allergies must be taken seriously.
Unlike a food intolerance, which means that a person has difficulty digesting something, an allergy causes a reaction in the body’s immune system and can be life-threatening. The Government estimates that 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children now suffer from allergies. There was a six-fold increase in the number of people admitted to hospital after an allergic reaction between 1990 and 2007.
Allergies can’t be cured. Their symptoms can be relieved by taking anti-histamines or, in the most severe cases, by injecting adrenaline. But, in the end, the only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid contact with the foods that cause it.
The new allergen regulations therefore place huge responsibility on food businesses and caterers to inform people if any of 14 known allergens are present in food. These are: cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame, sulphur dioxide or sulphites, lupin, and molluscs. You can find more detailed information on the Food Standards Agency’s website at www.food.gov.uk.
The allergen regulations will affect every café, restaurant, take-away, delicatessen and bakery in the country, as well as caterers in businesses, schools, hospitals, and care homes. Now that declaring these ingredients is a legal requirement, you can’t plead ignorance if a customer suffers an allergic reaction. You have to work out the best way of managing your business and training your staff so that consumers get the information they need.
The good news is that Big Zero fruit juices do not contain any of these allergenic products. Our website lists comprehensive information about what’s in our juices. Big Zero fruit juices are 99.9% fruit juice. You can buy Big Zero fruit juices with peace of mind, knowing that they contain no added sugar and no known allergens.