Update - Takeaway Food Allergens Court Case
By Kevin Moyse
Cheap Takeaway Menus provide a full service to you and your business. Not only can we give you great takeaway menu design and high quality takeaway menu printing, but we can also sort out a state-of-the-art food ordering website for you. In fact, if a website is all you’re interested in at the moment, check out our new sister site Cheap Takeaway Websites for fantastic deals. Not content with all that, we are a great place to visit for advice, tips, and news about anything related to running a takeaway business.
Last year we posted a cautionary tale of what cutting corners and showing a lack of due care and attention can cost both you and your customers. Almost a year later the verdict has been announced at Teesside Crown Court and the defendant, Mohammad Zaman, has been sent to prison for six years. So, for the sake of saving a few pounds on ingredients, one man died and another has been locked up. It is a sad but perfect example of the perils of not taking food safety seriously when you run a business. In this case, a cheaper alternative containing nuts was substituted for almond powder and the poor man’s meal was passed off as nut free. A blatant lie which I’m sure the takeaway had gotten away with time and again, but people request nut free ingredients for a reason, and if this is ignored the results – as illustrated here – can be fatal.
In December 2014 new laws came into effect requiring all takeaways and restaurants to inform customers if any of their dishes contain one or more of the 14 most dangerous allergens (which include nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish and mustard). A survey found that 25% of respondents said they or someone they knew had suffered a reaction after eating out or ordering in. This suggests that the issue is not uncommon, so when court cases like the one at Teesside make the news, they may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Food safety is for your benefit and that of your customers. There are number of areas where you need to be sure you are doing the right thing, or rather that you are not doing the wrong thing.
Problems can often be the fault of the supplier rather than the food outlet. For example, certain meats and even spices are relabelled before being supplied and are not what they are advertised to be. As a takeaway owner you may be helpless to prevent this from happening to you, but if you are following the law and taking all precautions then you are doing all you can and you will be able to prove it. It is up to the Food Standards Agencies across the world to more effectively police this practice.
Also, did you know that excessive use of artificial colourings can also land you in hot water? It is against the law to use too much artificial colouring in your dishes to make them look more appealing. So called E-numbers have been linked to various ailments and behavioural issues in children and constant lobbying takes place to reduce the amount in our food and drink. Warnings need to be placed on pre-packed food containing these additives, but there is no corresponding law for takeaway menus. What this means in real terms is that you could have the best intentions and still be breaking the law, and setting yourself up for a £5000 fine. Eternal vigilance and a common sense approach to the dishes you serve will safeguard you here.
We have covered food hygiene in previous articles, but you know it is a part of your business which constantly needs to be monitored and updated when necessary. It is also worth noting that come November 2016 all leaflets and menus from takeaways in Wales will be required to direct customers to the food hygiene ratings website and let them know that they can legally request to know a takeaway’s hygiene rating at the time of ordering. The Food Standards Agency is looking to extend this rule to English takeaways in the future.
Cheap Takeaway Menus has always been mindful of food allergies and legislation. Each menu we design contains states: ‘for full allergy information please contact us before ordering’. This is basic information but at the moment it is enough for takeaways and adheres to the law. But if a customer requests the information it MUST be available and provided. If you mislead or dissemble the consequences can be, and clearly are, dire.
We love takeaways and takeaway food. It’s our business to care about your business. If we can help just by providing information, we are happy to do so.