With just a few months to go before the new allergens legislation launches, Holroyd Howe – the UK’s only caterer to deliver fresh food services solely to the independent education sector – is calling upon schools to take notice and prepare for the biggest change to their catering in recent years.
The new legislation requires all caterers to provide substantial information on 14 key allergens including gluten, milk, eggs and celery. Also, caterers can no longer state that they do not know if an allergen is present or that all produce could contain a certain ingredient.
Holroyd Howe’s call for greater industry awareness and preparation comes about after the revelation that many schools may not know the legislation is changing, nor may they fully understand the intricacies of the new rules. Many of these schools will need to make substantial changes to their operations and utilise new training practices in order to comply with the new legislation before it comes into force in December 2014.
With so many premises to cater for, Holroyd Howe has been up-skilling a task force of employees from across the country to become trained ‘Allergy Champions’. These ‘Allergy Champions’ are now delivering training across the network of schools to ensure that all employees are equipped for the introduction of the new legislation. The leading independent school caterer has also increased focus on its categories for each intolerance level which ranges from mild intolerances to red allergies that can trigger anaphylactic shock. For children suffering from these red allergies, Holroyd Howe makes arrangements to meet with each parent to discuss their child’s needs, educate staff and reassure families.
Ronan Harte, managing director of Holroyd Howe, said: “We have a lot of moral responsibility for the children we cater for. Unlike adults, they are not always aware of what they shouldn’t eat, so as their foodservice providers, it’s our responsibility to ensure we know and understand every child’s needs so that the right provisions of care are in place for them.
“Whilst the wider catering industry is geared up for the changes, self-operated schools may not have the same understanding of the changes ahead and need to react now in order to avoid fines or prosecution.”