Council urges organisers to consider food allergens at Christmas events

Published: 30 Nov 2022

With the festive period fast approaching, many schools and community groups are starting the planning for their Christmas fairs and fetes.  Amid the seasonal cheer at these events there will be many colourful and tasty treats likely on offer, Horsham District Council is recommending that organisers are mindful of some of their visitors that may be intolerant or have an allergy to certain foods.

The Council provides a wide range of services aimed at safeguarding the environment and health, safety and well-being of our community. Councillor Tricia Youtan, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Protection said:

The proportion of people impacted from food allergies or intolerances increases every year, especially amongst children and young people where the figure could be as high 8%

She continued,

it would be helpful for festive event organisers take simple steps to highlight the allergen content of the non-prepacked food they sell or offer as prizes in similar way that other food businesses are legally required to.

Suggestions being made include stall holders keeping the ingredients list from the packaging of decanted food such as sweets they provide, so guests can easily review this information on request.  A similar method can also be used for homemade cakes and other items. Bakers are encouraged to make a note of the ingredients they have used and be mindful to avoid unintended ingredients being added or contaminating other ingredients and to inform people if a product contains specific allergens when asked.

One example of best practice noted by Council Officers was a paper and wood craft manufacturer trading at Christmas school fete, who included a small card listing the ingredients of the branded chocolate with each product that contained them inside.  This stall holder even went as far as highlighting in a bold font any of the 14 Key Allergens most suffered from in the UK.

Councillor Youtan, concluded,

It can be easy to retain and present the information about the ingredients of food, which some people will find especially helpful.

Further information about food allergies and intolerances, including a list of the 14 Key Allergens, can be found on the Food Safety website.

or by contacting HDC Environmental Health & Licensing directly via

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