Allergens have been in the news since the introduction of The Food Information Regulations 2014 (FIR2014) came into force and have become an increasingly important part of the food industry with regards to reporting and implementation. The recent implementation of Natasha’s Law has now made it mandatory for businesses to identify and label the full list of ingredients on food and drink products that are made fresh on the premises and then partially or completely wrapped for direct sale (PPDS). This legislation also applies to products at market stalls, vending outlets and when giving out free samples.
This has proved to be a very difficult and daunting task for many businesses, knowing where to go for the correct information, the potential cost of procuring a labelling system, training staff to use it, and the risks and consequences if food business operators (FBO) don’t get it right. With concerns over consumers’ wellbeing and the reputation of businesses at stake, it is no wonder many businesses have changed their practices and even reduced their range of goods for sale.
One thing that has made identifying allergens much easier is the use of QR codes, especially in the hospitality industry during the pandemic, where physical contact between customers and staff was limited. QR codes were commonly used to view menu and allergen information as well as order meals, and due to the limited interaction with service staff, allowed those who felt embarrassed to ask about allergens a way to find out if the dish was suitable for them.
Our FREE CaterCloud system offers several features to help businesses remain compliant with current legislation and share allergen information with their customers using QR codes displaying live menus and Natasha’s Law compliant labelling. Within the system you can create your recipes and turn these into daily or weekly menus. Invariably, ingredients come from various suppliers and manufacturers, so any changes in allergen or compound ingredient information made in CaterCloud will, when updated, make the required changes in any recipes on the system that contain those ingredients. This also updates the QR code automatically, negating the need for additional admin or reprinting costs.
Allergen information is kept in the ingredients section in CaterCloud through the allergen profile. All allergenic ingredients within the compound ingredients are identifiable with bold font and in a visible area, and the ingredient allergen profile presents itself on any menus or QR codes generated from the system.
It is vital this information is kept up-to-date to ensure that consumers are able to make an informed choice and help protect themselves from any potential risks if they have any food allergies or intolerances. Displaying incorrect information (or displaying no information at all) will not only mean you are flouting Natasha’s Law regulations, but it can be fatal for an allergy sufferer and damage the reputation of your business. Displaying live allergen information ensures you remain compliant but also empowers the consumer to make a confident decision without risking their life and may even increase your footfall.
Sharing allergen information is easy via our recipe cards, menus, QR codes and labels with all the information pulling through from any ingredients used. Here are a few ways the allergen information can be shared:
With the features that are available in CaterCloud, you can be sure you are on top of your allergen information and ensure the consumer gets the information they need to make safer food choices. There is sure to be further legislation around allergens in the future, so merging technology solutions with consumer safety now will ensure you are well prepared moving forward.
The Catercloud team will continue to monitor any new legislations coming into play and with our continued system development, we will always keep our customers compliant.
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