Many businesses require food related training courses to legally trade on the right side of the law. One these is allergen awareness courses. With the increase in reported food allergies, this is more important than ever.
As a food business, you are responsible for all food that is served or bought on the premises. Businesses have to make sure all food is prepared to meet high safety standards, and clearly labelled.
What are Food Allergens?
Food allergens can be present in the ingredients used to prepare and serve meals and also in pre-packaged food. An allergen can be anything that might make someone with a sensitivity unwell. Some people have food allergies that are so dangerous, they can pose a hazard to their life.
For this reason, there is a legal responsibility placed on businesses to make sure they provide the right food allergen information to customers.
The 14 Allergens
By law, businesses are required to list the 14 main food allergens in all foods that contain these. The food industry is responsible for clearly displaying this information for all its consumers to access.
Any business that comes into contact with food should know the allergens, this includes childcare settings and local newsagents.
Who Should Have Training in Allergen Awareness?
An allergen awareness course is vital for anyone who handles or serves food, even if the food isn’t prepared on the premises.
There can be serious consequences for businesses that do not make sure staff are properly trained. The most serious of these would be customers becoming very ill or possibly dying.
Food businesses can also face very heavy penalties for not having the right food training. This can have serious consequences, including closure. Reputation is the most important aspect of many businesses so if this gets in any way tarnished, it is very hard to recover from.
What Course Do You Need For Food Allergen Awareness?
A course that properly covers allergen awareness is required for food businesses. This means it should cover exactly what the main 14 allergens in food are and give an overview of the allergies and intolerances involved.
The purpose of such training is to ensure food handlers understand their role and impact on the wider community. Businesses must understand how much responsibility is involved with food preparation, including the 4 C’s of food safety.
Food Allergen Training Courses
Any business that deals with food should make sure their employees have awareness of food allergens.
This includes cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, sports centres, childcare settings, and food retail establishments.
These courses are designed so that staff understand food intolerances and why labelling the allergens is so important. Food safety laws mean there is a requirement to receive such training.
Food Allergen Awareness Course – What Do You Learn?
On a food allergen awareness training course you can expect to learn the following:
- Food Safety laws and their impact on allergen training
- Consequences of legislation not being adhered to
- Different allergies and intolerances people have
- Learning the 14 allergens
- How to reduce the risk of allergic reactions and other illnesses in the setting
- Storage and distribution will be considered
- Hazard analysis procedures
- The importance of personal and general hygiene
- How to reduce cross-contamination
Who Should Receive Training in Allergen Awareness?
This training will be beneficial for any business – big or small – that has food on the premises. It, of course, covers the more obvious food settings such as eateries but also the less obvious – such as childminders. If someone buys or eats food from your setting then you need to have food allergen awareness training.
Food allergen training certificates do not have an expiry date per se, however, most businesses should renew this every 3 years. Many laws are tweaked or brought in so all staff must be kept up to speed with any new legislation.