Hempleman: Allergen rules like “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”
A Sussex retailer and café owner has slammed forthcoming EU regulations on labeling of allergens, claiming that the new rules will make life more difficult for smaller operators serving “real” food.
Nick Hempleman of the Sussex Produce Company told FFD that the rules, which come into force in December, was at odds with the Government’s promise to cut back on red tape.
Under the regulations outlined in a booklet from the Food Standards Agency, caterers must be able to provide customers with detailed information about whether dishes contain any of the EU’s Top 14 allergens. Those who do not comply will face fines in excess of £1,000.
“I would say this seems something of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but then I would of course need to add a legal disclaimer about what sort of nut I was talking about,” said Hempleman.
“The casualty here will, as ever, be the small operator who is serving ‘real’ food, not out of a packet as the FSA booklet seems to take for granted.”
Hempleman added that those cafés and delis changing their menus daily and seasonally would find it particularly tough to comply.
The EU’s list includes eggs, molluscs, celery, milk, fish, peanuts, soya and gluten.
Earlier this year Lyndsey McManus, deputy CEO of Allergy UK told FFD that there were a number of ways cafés could comply with the rules.
“Whether you put information on the menu, on a poster or in a database that can be referenced by staff and conveyed verbally, allergen information must be clear and easy to access for consumers,” she said.
For more details about changes to the law visit: www.food.gov.uk/science/allergy-intolerance/label