Allergen training for your team

With many staff furloughed throughout the hospitality industry, now is the perfect time to undertake some allergen training. Ahead of World Allergy Week, we spoke to Caroline Benjamin of Food Allergy Aware to get her advice on how businesses can make sure their teams return to the workplace more allergen savvy than when they left….

What you can be doing to upskill your team’s allergen knowledge?

There are around 10 deaths a year which could be prevented with better knowledge and training. In this post I would like to highlight the FREE allergen training resources available, some of which can be compiled as a toolbox for your business. 

With the fact sheets listed below you could create a folder with additional information or create posters and laminate the fact sheets.  These can be rotated on a weekly/monthly basis and used to create knowledge tests for your staff to keep them on their toes.

What free allergen training is available?

1. Food Standards Agency

FSA online allergy training – there are 6 modules and they’re all available in English and Welsh.

FSA Food labelling e-learning course – there are 13 modules in the FSA food labelling e-learning training.

Both above training courses offer a certification when completing the course and carry CPD hours for your training record

You can also visit the FSA resources page by clicking here to find posters, leaflets including SFBB pages on allergen management .

To supplement your training resources – consider those allergens outside the regulated #14 – Allergy UK and The Anaphylaxis Campaign both have highly informative fact sheets which can help your staff to understand further about allergens…

2. Anaphylaxis Campaign (AC)

AllergyWise is an online e-learning course and the easiest way to learn about anaphylaxis, the risks of severe allergies and how to manage them. There are a variety of courses for carers of allergy sufferers, adults with allergies and for medical professionals managing allergy patients. Whilst there are no specific courses for caterers, the first two will give your team an insight into the condition.

Webinars – this page hosts a series of allergen related webinars, including one about ‘Understanding the Food Industry.

Knowledge Base  – Resources to help you understand foods which can cause reactions, it also covers cross reactivity. For example, when a person is allergic to peanuts, they can potentially be allergic to foods in the same food group e.g.: Lupin, soya and fenugreek.

It also gives an insight into thresholds. Do you know how much of an ingested allergen it takes to cause a reaction?  This is dependent on many factors and can vary from person to person, some of the factors, can be the type of food, the health of the person (if they have asthma or have exercised). Research is being carried by scientist worldwide to understand threshold further. The current advices is to completely avoid any foods that cause a reaction.

Fact Sheets – Anaphylaxis Campaign have a full range of information to help businesses to understand Anaphylaxis.

  • General Advice & Information about Anaphylaxis
  • Factsheets about Food Allergens
    • Series of sheets on #14 allergens and others outside of these
    • Pollen food syndrome or Oral allergy syndrome – where fruit, vegetables and other pollen related foods can cause a reaction mainly when eaten raw, but some when cooked
  • Factsheets about Non-Food Allergens

You can support the Anaphylaxis Campaign by becoming a corporate member, you will receive updates of fact sheets and be able to attend their corporate conference to get the inside information in the area of allergies.

3. Epi pen training

We would always recommend qualified first aid training for you and your staff, resources are also available from You can also send off for a dummy epi pen to give trained staff an example of what one of the auto-injector pens available are like. 

4. Allergy UK (AUK)

Allergy UK offers a wide range of confumer focussed information which is a great source of generalised knowledge about the following topics:

Childhood Food Allergies – This fact sheet contains information on allergies in children, it also list symptoms  and gives an understanding of why foods are eliminated and introduced into diets.N

Peanut Allergy – is one of the most common allergies and can be developed in early years and can also appear in later years in adults – thought to affect 1 – 50 children.

Food Intolerances can cover a vast range of foods, some outside the #14 major allergens in the FIR regulations. Intolerances are NOT medically diagnosed conditions and should only be diagnosed via an elimination diet and for us as caterers it is still important to keep the allergy and intolerance customer safe by having strict processes in place to avoid cross contamination. 


Training can come in many forms and whilst we are in a lock down situation we would encourage you to research further into what resources are available to help you, your staff and business keep ALL your customers safe.  If you are serving take away foods in the current climate please check out the FSA website to ensure you are still compliant with allergen regulations – click here for more information.

About Food Allergy Aware

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Award winning Food Allergy Aware offers accredited training to the food service industry.  We have available many formats of training ranging from online, induction booklets, face to face workshops, accredited level 2 and level training.  We also offer inhouse audits, and mystery dining

Contact us  07732637292

I am happy to offer the first 20 businesses who contact me a free copy of our allergy induction booklet if they comment, share and like this post.

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