With the rise of food intolerance in the Middle East it is critical for food service establishments to safely manage allergens. Local regulations require special care be taken when dealing with the following foods and their derivatives:
The above foods are known as “the big nine” because they are the most serious. Even small traces of these ingredients can cause fatal incidents for consumers with serious repercussions for food establishments. In the UK a restaurant was recently sentenced to 6 years in jail for failing to adhere to food safety precautions. It is only a matter of time before other countries follow suit.
Here’s how you can safely manage allergens according the Dubai Food Code.
For declaring allergens
- Declare allergens present in all food that is prepared or sold
- Declare allergens whether it is an ingredient, compound ingredient, food additive or processing aid
- Declare allergens on the label or the menu, no matter how small the amount
- Where the food is prepared for immediate consumption and exempt from labelling, the required allergen information must be displayed on, or provided to the consumer upon request
For preventing cross contamination
- Don’t use the same knives, utensils or chopping boards for foods that are deemed as allergens
- Don’t use the same cooking equipment (such as deep fryers, grills, sandwich makers)
- Don’t store allergen ingredients with or near non-allergen ingredients (such as in the same refrigerator, storage shelf)
- Don’t handle allergen free food before washing hands and contact surfaces properly
For retail food service environments
Retail food service establishments that offer allergen free food are required to check all ingredient labels of food products used in the production of food products for the presence of common food allergens. Handling of such products should be specifically included in your food safety protocols.
Food service establishments should also have at least one competent person on every shift available to deal with customers who are allergic to certain types of food. Read this Checklist for Front of House to Communicate with Guests & Kitchen for further tips.