Food Allergies- Is your business prepared?

A Food allergy is an abnormal immune response to a certain type or types of food. This is a response to a food type which would not occur in the majority of people. The top 14 allergies include: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Eggs, Sesame, Milk, Fish, Crustaceans, Soya, Gluten, Mustard, Celery, Sulphites, Lupin and finally Molluscs.

Rough estimates suggest that between 4% to 8% of people in the world have an allergy to at least one type of food. It has been known to occur that a single person may have more than one allergy. For instance I personally know an individual who is allergic to Tree Nuts, Peanuts and Gluten. As one can imagine having an allergy can be extremely difficult when eating out. These people cannot simply walk into a restaurant off the street, they will have to ensure that your restaurant or hotel is allergy aware. Meaning that your restaurant is aware of the procedures around handling foods correctly and that your menu caters for their needs.

This is not limited to eating out, all food allergy sufferers have to check the ingredients information on the back of packaged products as well to ensure they will not suffer a reaction from consuming them. This stresses the importance of ensuring your labelling of products is correct and that you have adequate procedures in place to avoid cross-contamination. One such example would be a bakery that bakes gluten-free bread as well, this bakery would have to ensure that all it’s staff are aware and trained on proper handling procedures and the owners and managers must ensure their kitchen has the proper facilities in place to ensure safe baking and storing of these products.

Having a food allergy is a hindrance to a person’s lifestyle and can be life threatening in some cases. Food allergy reactions can include but are not limited to: itchiness, swelling of the tongue, rash, eczema, vomiting, fainting, anaphylaxis and etc. New legislation was implemented last year around Food Allergies but just to put this issue into perspective, adhering to the new food legislation is not just a legal requirement! If you do not adhere to proper procedures you may be endangering the life of your customers.

We at Mary Daly & Associates are running an Allergen Awareness Course this November in Cork. This course is directed towards those working in the food sector from chefs to waiters and those involved in all stages of food production and transport. This course will teach you what you need to know about food allergies in general. It will also advise you as to how your business can comply with the new Allergen Legislation which was put into place last year.

Please contact our office at (021) 4355917 to arrange an Allergen Awareness Course for your business. We can also provide an advisory service for you and your business on a one to one basis to ensure you have the correct procedures and facilities in place to adequately meet your responsibilities and requirements. Alternatively you may email me at:

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