Yorkshire tackles food allergen scare

Businesses in West Yorkshire take action on food labeling against allergies

By Sarah Mattimoe

Calls for cafes and takeaways to label their product better

It’s as an inquest into the death of 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse found that Pret a Manger

After the recent headlines, shaming cafes and takeaways about their allergen labeling, it raises the question, is it difficult to meet food agency standards? And could this be an issue in West Yorkshire?

Leeds student Jonathon Mallatratt is allergic to peanuts and says the lack of labeling causes him problems.

He said: ”I once ate a rocky road from Starbucks because there was no mention of nuts on the label. But they’d actually changed the recipe to include nuts and none of the staff knew, so the labels hadn’t been changed”

Huddersfield’s Bloc cafe is a popular hot spot for breakfasts and lunch.

Waitress Kia McGrath said it’s not always easy to meet labeling standards: ”It’s very easy to be careless and not remember to label something.

”A new member of staff didn’t label certain foods correctly, but luckily a customer asked management about a particular dish before purchasing.”

Bloc have put in place health procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

”We now have two staff members check the fridge before and after service to ensure correct rotation of stock,” said Ms Mcgrath.

Bloc's daily health and safety checks for allergies

Bloc’s daily health and safety checks for allergies

Cafe worker, Ellie Schofield said:

”We usually go above and beyond for people with allergies changing the menu slightly and putting a wait on food checks to ensure the kitchen is clean and ready to prep the food.

“We always run through the dish and explain our cooking methods to ensure they fully understand.”

”We deal with allergy request very well, depending the allergy (example GF) we make sure all of our ingredients we use for that order are suitable for somebody gluten free we re check packaging on the ingredients and also check the allergens sheet for that meal just to be sure and we make sure we point out to the customer how our food is prepared and where it is cooked In case of cross contamination, we cook separately on a different boards to try avoid that happening.”

Small businesses with small kitchens also have to be aware of cross contamination, which Bloc believe is their biggest issue.

Student Alex Hudson has a severe nut allergy, which makes him very apprehensive when eating out, ”cross contamination is all it takes.”

 ”It’s scary to think that what you’re eating could kill you. Anaphylaxis doesn’t seem to be taken as serious as it should be despite the many lives it has taken. You’re constantly on edge every time you go out to eat.”

Mr Hudson said ”essentially you are trusting people to not mess up.”

Food Standards Agency

The Food Standards Agency provide the official guidelines for labeling. They state ‘Food allergens used as ingredients or processing aids must be declared on the packaging or at the point of sale.’

The Food Standards agency state examples of food which have to clearly labelled:

  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Sesame
  • Soya

To find out more about food labeling, visit the website:






About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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