New rules for food businesses

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Food businesses in Fenland have been given details about how they should go about complying with new rules about allergens that come into force this month.

From December 13 they will have to inform customers if the food they make, sell or serve contains any of 14 ingredients that commonly cause allergic reactions.

More than 50 delegates from local businesses were given details of the new European Union regulations at a “Food Safety Forum” organised by Fenland District Council.

Stewart Aitken, from Cambridgeshire County Council’s trading standards team, told the forum: “As caterers, it will be your responsibility to give customers accurate information about allergens,” he said.

The information can be communicated in writing on menus, verbally by staff or by signposting to where more details can be found.

Forum delegates were also given advice on how to safeguard against campylobacter and listeria, the most common causes of food poisoning in the UK.

Tracey Smith, from the Food Standards Agency, said that both could be effectively controlled by simple hygiene practices such as keeping raw and cooked foods separate, good hand washing and sticking to food’s “use by” dates.

Trevor Darnes, from the council’s environmental health team, gave some top tips on how to achieve and maintain a top rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Welcoming guests to the forum, Councillor Mike Cornwell, FDC’s Cabinet member responsible for environmental health, said: “We are committed to supporting local businesses and I am confident that the advice and guidance given to you today will help you comply with new and existing food laws.

“I’m very grateful to the county council’s trading standards team and the Food Standards Agency for lending their support for this event.”

For more details on food allergies, visit www.fenland.gov.uk/article/9558 and www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/allergy-guide