A new qualification that will help foodservice staff better understand allergen rules and employers comply with legislation has been launched.
The Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Allergen and Control in Catering (RQF) is aimed at anyone involved in food preparation and service within the catering, hospitality and licensing sectors, and will give employees knowledge relating to the control of ingredients and allergies at all stages of food purchase and production.
The qualification, from Highfield Qualifications – the largest provider of regulated food-safety qualifications in the UK – will also provide employees with an understanding of the process for ensuring that accurate ingredient information is available for customers at point of sale and service, while giving businesses confidence that they and their staff comply with the law.
Legislation introduced in 2014 means that businesses need to provide allergy information on any food sold unpackaged, whether via a pub, restaurant, café, deli counter, bakery or sandwich shop.
However, figures released by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) at the end of 2016 show that the number of businesses receiving warnings for failure to comply with food standards in the year after the introduction of the legislation had leapt to over 23,000 from just under 15,000 – an increase of 59 percent – with many believing confusion around the new rules to be responsible and suggesting compliance has been an issue for some.
Chris Sprenger, Managing Director at Highfield Qualifications, said, ‘The figures from the FSA show that many businesses are needlessly putting themselves at risk of prosecution and reputational damage, perhaps permanently. Even without the legislation, the issue of allergens would still be important as around 8% of children and 4% of adults have a food allergy of some description.
The Highfield Level 2 Award in Food Allergen and Control in Catering, means that businesses –large or small – will be able to help their customers make informed choices and protect their welfare, while also helping them stay compliant with the law and safeguarding their reputation’.
The qualification can be completed in five hours, and costs just £8 per learner registration.