Keeping your customers safe: The importance of understanding food allergens and intolerances

Written by Vic Hamblin

With recent government legislation, anyone working in hospitality will be aware of the importance of sharing important nutritional information across their menus with customers

The most common of these include gluten intolerance, peanut allergy and lactose intolerance.

Although they have similar symptoms, food intolerance and allergies have different causes. Food intolerance occurs when the body is unable to properly digest certain foods, whereas food allergies occur when the body reacts to a certain food with an immune response.

Food intolerances

A few tips for managing allergy risks

  • Write detailed standardised recipes that contain lists of possible allergens:
  • If you change the ingredients in one of our dishes or products, you must make sure you also update the ingredient list or labels provided to customers
  • Check all ingredients in the dish/recipe (and any ingredients they contain) as well as any garnish. We then need to inform customers if you have prepared food in something that may have contained an allergen, such as an oil that has already been used.
  • You may not always be aware of ingredient substitutions made by suppliers. For that reason, the following points are essential to ensure that your menus are safe for your clients.
  • Keep accurate written details about all the ingredients of prepared food, as well as pre-packed foods
  • Ensure ingredient lists are updated on a regular basis
  • Ensure that you have the latest ingredient diet lists from suppliers
  • When changing suppliers of foods, demand ingredient lists and update recipe details.
  • Keep the kitchen clean, tidy and organised:

Avoid cross-contamination:

  • Clean all surfaces and utensils that may have been used to prepare foods containing allergens
  • Store allergenic foods in separate containers, separated from other foods
  • Use paper towels, rather than cloth towels, when drying hands.

Make sure all staff are aware of the serious consequences of food allergies, and that they receive regular training.



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