Allergy Mums / Support for families with allergies

publication date: Jun 29, 2014

New Allergen Labelling Laws – Prue Leath Objects?

I was astounded to read that Prue Leath, and other professionals in the food industry, have criticised the new labelling laws being brought in to alert allergy sufferers that dishes in restaurants contain one of 14 known allergens. To set the context let me quote from the article in the Daily Mail on June 9th;

Prue Leith said the bureaucracy involved in going through the ingredient in every new dish would be difficult and time consuming

The chairman of the Restaurant Association said: ‘It is typical of the heavy-handedness of the EU to bring in something like this.

‘It is ridiculously complicated and almost impossible for most restaurants to comply with.

‘It is well intentioned, obviously, and all restaurants want to protect their customers from harm, but this is just so complicated.+2


The labelling will be easy for huge corporations like KFC and McDonald's to comply with because they have limited menus


‘You have to audit every menu item, but also, if you buy in sauces, for example, you need to go to the supplier and get the allergen details from them, which is difficult and complicated.’ 


Their argument raises an interesting question. Is the food we are eating at restaurants so processed that it is impossible for the chefs to know the ingredients? When we order a tomato based sauce in a restaurant are we actually eating the equivalent of Dolmio? Is cooking from scratch in restaurants now so unusual, so out of the ordinary, so complicated, that restaurants simply don’t really do it? Because honestly, if a restaurant can’t tell me what’s in the dish I’m eating then what is going on? When I have a dinner party, and guests ask about ingredients I can tell them what’s in their dinner. I can tell them because I cooked it. Restaurants that can’t answer a simple question ‘what’s in my dinner’ ought to be ashamed. If the new labelling law means that we have a much better understanding of what restaurants are actually doing then these laws are a very good thing indeed.  It suggests to me that we are eating high priced ‘ready meals’ in restaurants and paying for the ambience, not the cooking skill.

Onto a more serious note. This sort of ‘it’s all too much trouble to tell people what’s in their food’ attitude is a disgrace. This is why people get sick. This is why people die of anaphylactic shock when they eat something that they thought was safe but wasn’t. How many deaths does it take before cooks realise that their convenience (and profit one presumes – buying in sauces must be cheaper than making them) does not come before our health?  Its 14 ingredients.


1. Gluten containing cereals 
2. Crustaceans 
3. Molluscs 
4. Fish 
5. Peanuts 
6. Lupin 
7. Tree Nuts (such as walnut, hazelnut, almond etc.) 
8.  Soya 
9.  Eggs 
10.  Milk 
11.  Celery 
12.  Mustard 
13.  Sesame 
14.  Sulphur dioxide

It’s not rocket science. It’s not hard, it’s only hard if you don’t want to do it. Well…thank goodness for the EU. Maybe we’ll have fewer deaths from accidental peanut poisoning this year.



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