Food for thought: What do pubs need to know about food allergens?
With food allergens making their way into the press recently, and customers becoming more allergy-savvy, now is as good a time as any to go through the best practices to avoid accidents from happening inside the kitchen of your pub. In this article we highlight the 14 allergens to be aware of and point to free downloadable templates to help support the processes you have put in place.
What are the 14 allergies my staff should be aware of in my pub?
In the UK, pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars must tell their customers if they use any of the 14 key allergens as ingredients in the food and drink they provide to the public. With gluten being a popular ingredient found in most dishes, and 1 of the 14 allergens, it is easy to slip up and make a mistake. Especially as there are an estimated 8.5 million people in the UK who are gluten intolerant. With supermarkets expanding their range of products to accommodate for this growing market, how prepared is your menu to cater for your customers?
The 14 allergens you must declare are:
• Anything containing gluten – including wheat, rye, barley and oats. It is estimated 1% of the UK have Coeliac Disease. With the law recently changing, it effects every corner of the food
industry. With it being the main ingredient for a lot of recipes it can be a simple thing to slip up on.
• Crustaceans – prawns, crabs and lobsters
• Lupin – the yellow beans used in Mediterranean dishes
• Molluscs – mussels and oysters
• Tree nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts
• Peanuts – no, these nuts aren’t the same as tree nuts
• Sesame seeds
• Sulphur dioxide and sulphites – these can be commonly found in tinned fruits/veg and used as a preservative.
As part of your food safety processes we have created some handy, ready to use templates to download for your kitchen and serving staff. It should be encouraged that if a server is not entirely sure of the ingredients then they should seek advice from the management team. The effects of you not arming your staff properly with the legal information is the potential to put a customer’s life at risk. Not only would it mean negative press for you and your pub, but a potential claim being made.
Dishes and their allergen content template
Best practice would be to distribute these to current staff and any new kitchen and bar employees in the future. For extra security it would be advised to have a written signature of everyone who reads and completes your health and safety checks, to show that they had a complete understanding of your processes.
Free food allergen posters
Displaying this poster for customers to see will help encourage the conversation about what ingredients your dishes include. This will give your customer confidence in their food choice and increasing the level of trust in your pub’s brand.
What pub insurance do I need?
As a publican you are directly responsible for the safety of your customers and employees, from the way your food is prepped, to the way you list the ingredients on your menu. Accidents or acts of negligence can leave you exposed to claims being made against your business. With that in mind, we explain some of the liability covers you should have in place when it comes to protecting yourself against any food allergen claims. It might be worth double checking these against your current policy or with your current brewery contract to make sure you are insured.
Public & Product Liability
Both insurance covers help protect your business against any accident, injury or damage claims resulting from a customer suffering an allergic reaction to a meal or a drink served on your premises. It is also worth making a note that claims can be made even if you haven’t charged for the product, especially in respect to cross contamination risks. For instance, a guy walks into a pub (sorry, this isn’t the start of a joke…) and orders a pint. The glass is placed on the bar near a bowl of complimentary nuts. But what if the customer has a nut allergy?
Any potential cross contamination that results in a nut product on that pint glass could leave you open to a claim by any customers with a nut allergy. Our recommendation would be to have a cover of £5 million. Have you checked your cover?
Don’t be allergic to your liability insurance
Do you feel confident you would be fully insured in an event of a food allergy accident? It’s easy sometimes to miss the small print or to fully understand what cover you need If you would like to talk through your current policy or get a quote for when you are due to renew, contact firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 01322 424 533.