Managing Allergens in Care Homes | Kitchen CUT
It’s over 2 years since the EU FIC legislation made it a requirement for care homes and any other business serving food to end consumers, to make information on 14 allergens available to consumers. Yet, despite this, a report from the Food Standards Agency in partnership with Allergy UK has revealed that 68% of consumers said front of house staff lacked knowledge on what was on their menu, and 56% of consumers with allergies have been made to feel like they were an inconvenience.
In the hospitality industry, food allergies are a growing concern. It is estimated that between 1-10% of adults and children have a food hypersensitivity. However as many as 20% of the population experience some reactions to foods, suggesting food intolerance (The Association of UK Dietitians (BDA), 2015). When you look at the figures and information supplied by Allergy UK, it is frightening that so many suppliers and companies deal with allergen management in a very manual way, simply ticking boxes in a basic XLS spreadsheet! This method relies on individuals to be thorough and accurate, so the process is hugely exposed to the possibility of human error.
There are 14 official allergens in the UK, but it is important to bear in mind that many people have allergies or at least intolerances to other products such as mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, allergies which can cause severe reactions. Having information about the presence of these ingredients in your dishes is a fundamental requirement in hospitality, and it has to be accurate or the consequences could be severe, possibly fatal.
How can care homes manage allergens in an accurate way?
A report by Allergy UK states that, “If anyone encounters a food business not providing information on the 14 allergens, they should report it to their local authority who will investigate”. Care homes have the same responsibility as hotels and restaurants to supply this information. Rather than adopting a manual, error laden approach, it makes sense to have a robust system in place that is accessible by all members of the team, not only to ensure legal compliance, but also to provide a seamless service, and to protect your residents and staff. A resident suffering an allergic reaction because of misinformation or lack of information could have catastrophic consequences for the resident, their family and your business.
At Kitchen CUT the system not only provides the chef and managers of care homes with reliable, consistent and accurate information. But it also provides assurance to residents and their families that there is a robust process and system in place to protect residents against any oversights or potential mistakes that have been made. When some dishes may consist of multiple recipes pulled together, it is very easy to miss an allergen such as a few drops of thickened soy sauce, or a trace of nuts or maybe because you have changed suppliers on your mayonnaise and the new one has an additional allergen (such as celery and nut oil) contained within it, that the previous one didn’t.
Kitchen CUT is a full Food and Beverage management system that helps you have confidence in managing all of your allergen and nutritional information as well as managing menu costs, ordering, waste, stock control and allow you to manage all your ordering and receiving through a simple to use cloud -based system.
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