Food Standards Agency: Menus must list allergens

Menus should be required to include allergy information, according to the organisation responsible for food safety. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is endorsing the family of a teen who tragically perished from an allergic reaction's appeal for "Owen's Law."

Owen Carey developed anaphylactic discomfort after having chicken that had been marinated in buttermilk, despite the fact that he had informed the staff at the restaurant that he was allergic to dairy products.

Approximately two million people in the United Kingdom are affected by conditions such as coeliac disease, food allergies, or intolerances.

The FSA met on Wednesday and reached a consensus that restaurants and coffee businesses should be required to provide written allergy information.

It stated that board members would compose a letter to the government regarding this. The FSA further stated that it is reasonable to anticipate staff and customer conversations.

In April 2017, Mr. Carey, a native of Crowborough, East Sussex, lost his life in an unintended incident while dining out on his 18th birthday. He inadvertently consumed food to which he was allergic. Since the adolescent's demise, his family has been actively advocating for a revision of the legislation.

In response to the favourable results of the FSA Board meeting, Paul Carey, the father of Mr. Carey, expressed his emotions by stating that he was holding back a small amount of celebratory liquor and had a tear in his eye.

He mentioned that they been engaged in this endeavour for a considerable amount at times, it appeared that no progress would be made. 

Carey stated, “We anticipate that individuals with food allergies will be able to dine out in comfort now that this law is in effect by permitting them to inspect the ingredients in their food.”

The FSA chairwoman, Professor Susan Jebb, stated, "It was clear that the board believes that food establishments, including coffee shops and restaurants, should be required to communicate allergen information in writing in addition to verbally."

To increase the probability that this will transpire, written information should be legally mandated, as opposed to merely serving as guidance. 

It is the responsibility of the FSA to ensure food safety and hygiene in Northern Ireland, England, and Wales.

Prof. Jebb stated that she intends to correspond with the pertinent ministers of these three countries, in addition to her counterpart in Scotland, with the intention of advancing the adjustments "on a four-country basis." She mentioned that she would also like to commend the Carey family for their tireless efforts in bringing attention to the significance of this issue.

Furthermore, at the same time, the Food Safety Authority (FSA) announced its intention to formulate recommendations for food businesses about the provision of allergen information that is documented.

As a result of the introduction of Natasha's Law in 2021, it became mandatory for all pre-packaged products, including sandwiches, to be accompanied by an exhaustive list of ingredients.

It took place when Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was 15 years old at the time, passed away as a result of an allergic response to a baguette from Pret-a-Manger.