Businesses in Lichfield and Burntwood are being reminded of the need for clear details of ingredients as people head out to enjoy Christmas food and drink.

The warning comes from Staffordshire County Council who said that one of the busiest times of the year would see more people than usual asking for advice on allergens.

Although 14 allergens are highlighted on prepacked food, restaurants or takeaways may provide in verbally.

Brandon Cook, trading standards manager at Staffordshire County Council, said:

“With lots of festive work parties, nights out and family get togethers being planned in the run up to Christmas and New Year, we’re reminding people to be aware of the risks of food allergies.

“Food allergy has become a growing concern and can be life threatening, and that’s why we are also advising businesses of the importance of clear customer information regarding their food products and meals in restaurants.

“Providing customers with confidence to eat out is good for business and will encourage repeat business.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had a number of incidents in Staffordshire where people have ended up in hospital as a result of being served food that has given them a severe reaction.

“Our job is to help keep people safe and if people choose a food outlet and are in any doubt about what’s in their food, they should walk out.”

Brandon Cook, trading standards manager at Staffordshire County Council

“Doing more than just the bare minimum”

The service is also supporting the national Easy to Ask initiative launched last year by the Food Standards Agency, Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign to encourage people speak about allergies.

A spokesperson from Allergy UK said:

“This is the time of year when people are eating out more perhaps than they usually do.

“People living with food allergy are usually vigilant on their own behalf and the Easy to Ask campaign was designed to encourage people living with allergies, particularly younger people, to ask food businesses about allergens, so that they can make safe choices.

“It’s all about communication between food businesses and their allergic customers – and food businesses do need to think about doing more than just the bare minimum when it comes to catering for the food allergic community.”

Allergy UK spokesperson

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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