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News & Press: General

Full ingredient labelling not best option for ensuring allergen safety

08 May 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Pernille Thomsen
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UKHospitality has reacted to news that the Food Standards Agency has recommended mandatory full ingredient labelling for pre-packed direct-sale food.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Customer safety is obviously a key issue for hospitality. Consumers and policy-makers feel strongly about it and hospitality businesses are equally serious about the matter. That is why many businesses have already implemented their own measures to ensure that customers remain safe, and the industry continues to work with stakeholders, including the FSA, on the issue.

“However, full ingredient labelling is not the way forward. Creating an atmosphere where customers and staff feel confident discussing allergens is the best way to ensuring safety. The Government should not act on the FSA’s recommendations.

“Full listing of ingredients is going to cause significant issues for businesses. The majority of hospitality businesses are small businesses and full labelling is not something that can be carried out accurately or effectively by chefs in a busy kitchen; nor can it be done by other members of staff who would need technical expertise to do so.

 “Full labelling may also create a reliance on labelling that could prove to be less safe. There is the possibility of mis-labelling and no accounting for cross-contact which cannot be totally avoided. Not only is full ingredient labelling wholly impractical for some businesses, it may provide customers with a false sense of security.

“Some businesses, particularly smaller ones, may be put off making their own food on-site altogether and may resort to selling only pre-packaged food prepared offsite. This could lead to much less choice for customers and, as these products tend to go out of date more quickly, could exacerbate the problem of food waste.

“The best way to keep customers safe is by empowering them to talk to staff members with the confidence that the information they receive is accurate and useful. We should not be discouraging customers from discussing allergens by relying on labelling alone.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • UKHospitality is the new trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, established following a merger approved in February 2018 between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA)
  • UKHospitality is the authoritative voice for over 700 companies, operating around 65,000 venues in a sector that employs 3.2 million people
  • The body speaks on behalf of a wide range of leisure and ‘out-of-home’ businesses, from FTSE 100 enterprises to niche groups and independent single-site operators
  • For the first time, the sector has a single voice bringing together businesses from all aspects of hospitality; coffee shops, hotels, serviced apartments, pubs, restaurants, leisure parks, nightclubs, contract caterers, entertainment, stadia and visitor attractions
  • Engaging with government, the media and the public, UKHospitality works to develop a robust case on how to unlock the industry’s full potential as the biggest engine for growth in the economy and ensure that the industry’s needs are effectively represented
  • The sector creates £130bn in economic activity and generates £39bn of tax for the Exchequer, funding vital services
  • Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP
  • Hospitality is the 3rd largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined
  • Member benefits include free advice and expert guidance on regulation, finance and health and safety as well as savings on services from carefully selected business partners.

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