The EU allergens regulations, that came into force in December last year, require restaurants to specify dishes which contain specific allergens. More than 100 chefs have attacked these rules that harm “spontaneity, creativity and innovation” and warned that "significant damage” is inflicted on catering industry, according to The Telegraph.
Catering businesses, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and canteens must pay large fines unless they state precisely on menus and packaging which of their food contains ingredients from a list of the ‘EU’s 14 ‘top allergens’. The allergens on the list are: eggs, molluscs, crustaceans, celery, milk, fish, treenuts, sulphites, soya, sesame, peanuts, mustard, lupin and gluten.
According to the new rules it is not enough anymore to state on packaging or menus that allergens are present, or that they “could” be present. It is compulsory to conduct a comprehensive audit of every ingredient present within the food, and it has to be labeled with a precise breakdown of the allergens it contains. In case it is not obvious from the ingredient the name of the allergen must be written next to it
Several chefs have raised their voice against these regulations stating:
“It is a total fiasco and in my view is the responsibility of the allergee to ask, no the restaurateurs to list. I had a severe allergy for 6 years so coming at it from both sides of the fence.” – said Miss Miers, who won BBC cookery competition Masterchef in 2005.
“This is a costly overreaction from Brussels using a regulatory sledgehammer to crack a nut. Diners with allergies can and should be able to eat out with allergies, but this has unfairly placed too great a burden on the catering industry which will hurt customers, and in particular small independent businesses.” – said Matthew Elliot, group Business for Britain.