It’s all about allergens again this week. The latest story to spark debate is the group of celebrity chefs who have allegedly joined forces to publicly voice their disapproval about the recent changes to EU legislation surrounding allergens. A petition has been created which many have signed as they argue it is damaging innovation and hampering chef’s creativity.
But is this really the case? One might argue that consumers do indeed have a right to know exactly what is contained within the food they are eating. We all know that this kind of stuff can be life threatening, it’s a serious issue and one that we need to treat with great care. Does the legislation go a step too far in terms of the detail required? Possibly; would someone with a severe nut allergy agree? Probably not; the point is, rules have been made and they are here to stay. Of course, this is certainly the biggest restaurant challenge of the year and chefs have a massive role to play.
Chef creativity and innovation shouldn’t be at stake, as long as they do follow the guidelines and ensure they have a disclaimer stating that ‘this is as close as they can get’. But it does mean that chefs everywhere are going to have to start using more controlled systems so that they can establish and demonstrate for example, the nutritional value of scrambled eggs per 100g. But the onus is not just on the chefs, suppliers also have to be responsible for labelling food correctly. Everything that comes into the chef should be accurately labelled with allergens information. Of course, the minute the chef makes scrambled eggs (using the eggs delivered) the same applies.
Chefs need to start to build a bank of recipes on their systems and an allergen directory that contains all of the required information easily to hand for any customers that wish to know, peace of mind and compliance will ensure that creativity and innovation