Food Standards Agency Calls for Allergy Information to be Published on Menus

Restaurants should be forced to publish allergy information on menus, according to The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and is putting its weight behind calls for ‘Owen’s Law’ to be introduced.

18 year old Owen Carey suffered an anaphylactic shock after eating chicken containing buttermilk in 2017. The family had told the restaurant staff, where they were celebrating Owen’s birthday, that he was allergic to dairy and are now demanding the change in the law.

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said: “Our work with the NHS for the forthcoming publication, The NHS Chefs’ Knowledge has highlighted allergy awareness in hospitals and we are keen to promote that further. It’s clear that allergies are increasing and something needs to be done to protect the growing number of people who suffer.”

The NHS is proud to be working with Tanya Laperouse, mother of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after she ate an artichoke, olive, and tapenade baguette from a Pret a Manger store at Heathrow Airport in July 2016.

Natasha bought the innocuous-sounding baguette from the Pret store at Heathrow, unaware that it contained sesame seeds and subsequently had a severe allergic reaction within minutes of her flight taking off for Nice.

Despite her father administering two Epi-pens on her, Natasha had several cardiac arrests during the flight and died later that day at a French hospital. This story cannot be told often enough. If you don’t think food allergies are serious then you are very much mistaken.

Too many people are scared to eat out or on the go. That might sound ridiculous but, sadly, it’s true.

Food allergies are real and they are growing. This is not the space to discuss why they are growing. Instead, it’s enough to impress on chefs working in both healthcare and hospitality sectors that allergies exist and need to be taken seriously.

Natasha’s Law concerns labelling. If you prepare food on the premises and you then package it for sale then you must, by law, list all ingredients and highlight any of the 14 major allergens it may contain.

Now, Owen’s Law will serve to do the same in restaurant menus and we very much look forward to reporting ongoing progress made with this fantastic initiative.