County council helps protect young people with Food Allergies in Gloucestershire; “It’s easy to ask”
Food Standards Agency (FSA) research shows over half of young people (60 per cent) with a food allergy or intolerance have avoided eating out or ordering in, in the last six months due to their condition.
A summer allergy awareness campaign is being held from today (1 July) hot on the heels of last week’s news surrounding ‘Natasha’s Law’. Teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after an allergic reaction to a “Pret A Manger” baguette. Under ‘Natasha’s Law’, which is set to come into force by the summer of 2021, food businesses will have to include full ingredients labelling on food that is pre-packed for direct sale.
This news comes at a time when councils from all over the South West will be promoting vital messages about food allergens – with both food businesses and consumers targeted from 1 July 2019.
Cllr Dave Norman MBE, cabinet member for Trading Standards for Gloucestershire, said, “Firstly I want to pass on my heartfelt condolences to Natasha’s family. I’m pleased to hear central government have taken action on this issue, and Gloucestershire Trading Standards fully support clearer information about what is in food products. Don’t be afraid to ask a shop or restaurant for more information about their food, it could save a life.”
Recent FSA research shows that over 60 per cent of young people, with a food allergy or intolerance, have avoided eating out in the last six months due to their condition.
Reactions can range from a slightly itchy mouth or redness of the skin, to causing life-long disability or even death. In the UK, an estimated ten people die every year from food-induced anaphylaxis, and sadly teenagers and young adults appear to be at highest risk of severe reaction.
Lisa Peters from Trading Standards South West, which is coordinating the region’s Easy to Ask campaign, said: “The role of local food enforcement authorities is to ensure that businesses are aware of their responsibilities towards their customers. This includes providing accurate information about which of the 14 allergens are included as ingredients in their food. They also help consumers understand what information they should look out for as well as ask food businesses for, when eating out or ordering food, with an allergy.
“If you’re out for food, call the restaurant beforehand to let them know about your allergy and to ensure they can safely cater for you. Then repeat this information when you make your order, and when your food arrives, double check that it has been prepared according to your needs. The business must be able to tell you the 14 allergens in the foods they are serving.”
The campaign is also being supported by the Food Standards Agency.
Dr Chun-Han Chan, food allergy policy lead at the Food Standards Agency, said: “Working in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team we are dedicated to encouraging conversations between food businesses and their customers across the county. Together we want to help young people living with food allergies be confident that the food they are served is safe to consume every time. Our easy to ASK campaign aims to empower customers, whether they live with a food allergy or not, to speak up and help keep those at risk safe.”
The #easytoASK campaign, which is supported by the FSA, will begin on 1 July with awareness messages posted on Trading Standards South West social media accounts which can be found at www.facebook.com/TradStandSW and www.twitter.com/TradStandSW