In response to a Freedom of Information request, Unchecked.uk, a regulatory watchdog organization, learned that 15 of 51 samples taken from food businesses operating in County Durham between 2016-2018 tested positive for undeclared allergens.
Said Emma Rose, director of Unchecked.uk:
In the worst case scenario, unknowingly consuming an allergen can prove fatal – and that’s why the law requires food businesses to tell people that allergens their food contains.
But regulation is only as good as the enforcement that underpins it and it’s clear that in the case of UK food law, the enforcement gap is looming large.
Cuts in staff and funding have stretched regulators to breaking point, and the fall in enforcement activities is putting lives at risk.
While the UK struggles to ensure adequate funding for their allergen sampling and enforcement programs across the country, can Americans with food allergies count on similar support to ensure the eateries they purchase their food from is safe?
We know of no efforts by federal, state, or local authorities to monitor the safety of food prepared by food establishments. Simply put, there is no way of knowing how well the businesses we rely on are complying with the relatively few state allergen regulations on the books without such enforcement efforts.
Consider contacting your representatives to inform them how important allergen safety is to you and your family and demand to know what they are doing to address it. You can find your federal, state, and local representatives at USA.gov.