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People and businesses reminded of food allergy risks during national awareness week

People and businesses in Staffordshire are being reminded of the importance of clearly labelled ingredients during national Allergy Awareness Week.

The county council’s trading standards team wants to ensure people remember to check food ingredients while businesses trade responsibly and clearly display ingredients in English.

On pre-packed food ingredients and allergens must be labelled in English. In cafes, restaurants and takeaways allergen information must be provided on menus or notices, or otherwise given to consumers on request by suitably trained staff.

According to Allergy UK which is leading the campaign, over the last decade the cases of food allergies have doubled and the number of hospitalisations caused by severe allergic reactions has increased seven-fold.

Added to this, the organisation says that six to eight per cent of children have a proven food allergy.

Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards manager Brandon Cook said:

“Food allergy is a major concern and a growing problem which can be life threatening. We’re using Allergy Awareness Week to remind people and businesses of the importance of clearly labelled ingredients on food products or meals in restaurants.

“It is vital that people know what is in the food they’re about to eat and businesses have a responsibility to ensure that consumers get the information they need to eat safely.

“Unfortunately we’ve had incidents in Staffordshire where people have ended up in hospital as a result of being served food that has given them a severe reaction. We have also come across shops stocking food made for overseas markets with no English labelling, which could present a danger to anyone with food allergies. We have been working with those concerned to advise them of the law so we can help to keep Staffordshire people safe.”

Free, online training for food business staff is available from the Food Standards Agency at http://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/

People can find out more information by visiting: www.allergyuk.org/awareness-weeks