As food allergies continue to increase year after year, it is crucial that the food industry is properly equipped on how to handle allergens, and minimise the risk of contamination. Whether you are a food manufacturer or a restaurant, understanding allergens is now an important part of food safety training.

No matter which area of the food industry you work in, from production through to cooking and storage, you must have a certain level of food allergen knowledge, in order to be able to fully comply with EU law. In the UK alone, it is estimated that around 2 million adults have at least one form of food allergy or intolerance, which means makes it incredibly important that foodstuff is manufactured, stored, and labelled correctly to minimise the risks of an allergic reaction.

Food Allergen Risks

Allergens – the food items that are knowns to cause an allergic reaction – can result in symptoms that range from a minor rash to something far more severe, such anaphylactic shock. While the milder allergic reactions are often easy to deal with, anaphylactic shock – or anaphylaxis, as it is also known – is a life-threatening reaction which affects the airway. In severe cases, these allergic reactions can occur by simply touching the allergen in question, why is why proper food safety training is so important for individuals who handle food products in any way.

Through proper training and understanding of the legal requirements regarding food allergens under EU law, organisations can ensure that all of their employees known the risks, along with how they can mitigate these in order to keep consumers safe.
Key Information Regarding Food Allergens

Regardless of where you choose to source your food allergy training from, any reputable training provider will need to do a thorough job and cover a number of different key knowledge areas when it comes to food allergens. Although no two courses are the same, you should look for ones that will provide training covering key information such as the basics of what food allergens are, the most common allergenic ingredients, and the current legislation regarding the subject.

Food Allergen Basis

Understanding the basics of what food allergens are, and how they can affect a person is a vital part of any training course. As previously mentioned, not all allergic reactions manifest in the same way so it is important for employees to be aware of their different forms, just as they should know how to differentiate between a food allergy and food intolerance – such as lactose intolerance.

Common Food Allergens

The most common causes of food allergies, which must now be clearly listed under EU law, include eggs, peanuts, milk, fish and shellfish. These allergens are the usual culprits responsible for allergic reactions in both adults and children.

Current Legislation and Legal Liability

For organisations in the European Union, there are a number of different important pieces of legislation that they, and their employees, must be aware of when it comes to food allergens. Under Annex II of the EU Food Information for Consumers Legislation No.1169/2011 and the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No.78/2014 amending said annex, any food allergen must clearly be outlined on the list of ingredients for any foodstuff.

Restaurants and other such enterprises which sell food unpackaged, must still clearly indicate any allergens, and it is mandatory that they provide both written and verbal information to consumers about allergenic ingredients.

As the sale of food items containing allergens is governed by both civil and criminal law, organisations must also seek out training on this aspect of food allergens in order to fully understand their statutory duties to consumers.

 Food Allergy Training