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Safer Food Better Business

With Allergy Awareness Week running from the 20th-26th April we take a look into ‘Safer Food Better Business’. According to NDNA (National Day Nurseries Association), the amount of people who suffer with allergies is on the rise with an average of around 12 people per day admitted to A&E with server allergic reactions. The important part of the statistic here is the increase in children suffering from food allergies as rise has been increasing around 5% each year and almost half of these people affected with are children. 

This has lead to a new EU law that came in to effect in December 2014 which now controls the way you choose to serve and prepare your food. The safer food better business is a document that has been produced to help early years care providers recognise the symptoms of an allergic reaction and helps you avoid them happening in your setting. It has predominantly been made to combat the current lack of understanding of food allergies as you now need to know exactly which ingredients are going in to the food you are serving. The safer food better business helps to guide and educate you on exactly what you need to know and what you need to look out for if you think a child could be allergic to a particular food.

Here are the 14 specific types of food ingredients that are listed in the EU food law that you must declare if they are present in the food you serve:

  • cereals containing gluten, eg wheat (including spelt and khorasan), rye, barley and oats and their hybridised strains
  • crustaceans, eg prawns, crab and lobster
  • eggs
  • fish
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • milk
  • nuts, eg almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts
  • celery (including celeriac)
  • mustard
  • sesame
  • sulphur dioxide/sulphites (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre
  • lupin
  • molluscs, eg clams, mussels, whelks oysters, snails and squid

You may wonder how you can spot a food allergy if you have not experienced them before so here is a list of some of the symptoms you need to look out for:

Mild symptoms of an allergic reaction to food Severe symptoms of an allergic reaction to food
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • swelling
  • rash
  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhoea
  • difficulty breathing, including wheezing
  • swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • hives: itchy, blotchy and raised rash
  • dizziness or faintness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • Anaphylactic shock: A sudden extreme reaction

(Be sure to call 999 if a child in your care experiences these)

 

Food safety is evidently becoming more and more important in child care; this is not only due to the fact that the number of children suffering with food allergies is on the rise but it is also because children are very vulnerable and may react worse than other age groups to food allergies or food poisoning. The food records that you keep should be very accessible to parents, health care providers etc.

The Safer Food Better Business document complies with the law in that Food safety and hygiene regulations say that you must be able to show what you do to provide and store food that is safe for children, this must be written down and using this pack helps you do this.
Safer food, better business content includes-

What you need to know before you start

  • Working with food?
  • Contents
  • Cross-contamination
  • Cleaning
  • Chilling
  • Cooking
  • Management
  • Diary

The pack is based on the principles of HACCAP (hazard analysis and critical control points) but has been simplified to cut out a lot of the jargon that some food hygiene guides can contain.

Allergy Awareness Week 2015 20th - 26th April 2015

For information about food allergy awareness week please visit www.allergyuk.org.

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