Don’t let food allergies ruin your Valentine’s Day

Brandon Cook, trading standards manager at Staffordshire County Council.

IN the run up to the most romantic day of the year, people and food businesses are being reminded of the importance of clear allergen and ingredient information.

With the county’s restaurants and eateries gearing up for one of the busiest days of the year, Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service is urging people who have food allergies or intolerances to check that food ordered does not contain an ingredient which would harm them.

The service is also working with local food businesses to ensure they understand the rules and their responsibilities around food ingredients labelling.

Leek Rural member, Gill Heath, cabinet member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “Food allergies has become a growing concern in recent years and that’s why we’re raising awareness of the issue and advising businesses of the importance of offering clear information. 

“Valentine’s Day is always a busy time for restaurants, hotels and eateries and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy their time safely.

“Providing customers with confidence to eat out is good for business and will encourage repeat business. Unfortunately, we’ve had a number of incidents in Staffordshire where people have ended up in hospital as a result of being served food that has given them a severe reaction.

“Our job is to help keep people safe and if people choose a food outlet and are in any doubt about what’s in their food, they should leave and find somewhere else.”

According to charity Allergy UK, over the last decade cases of food allergies have doubled and the number of hospitalisations caused by severe allergic reactions has increased seven-fold (EAACI, 2015).

The organisation says that six to eight per cent of children have a proven food allergy (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2011).

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