GREATER PROTECTION FOR FOOD ALLERGY SUFFERERS / COUNCIL BUSINESS LOAN FUND REACHES £2M LANDMARK
GREATER PROTECTION FOR FOOD ALLERGY SUFFERERS
Food allergy sufferers will be able to eat with greater confidence as new rules affecting the way local food businesses inform customers of potential allergy dangers are introduced.
Under current regulations, businesses such as supermarket bakeries, delis, cafés and restaurants selling loose foods, do not have to provide information to customers about food allergens.
From 13th December all food businesses will need to verbally explain or signpost allergenic information about the food they sell or provide.
Food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions and the number of affected people is growing. The primary cause of food allergy deaths in the UK is allergic reactions when food is eaten outside the home, and allergenic ingredients have not been declared.
The new EU rules require all food businesses to inform customers if any of 14 allergenic ingredients are present in the food they make or serve. This can be communicated to customers in writing on menus, verbally through explanations by staff, or signposted to where or how more information can be found.
Cllr Mark Watson, Croydon council’s cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “All food businesses in Croydon should be ready to provide this vital information by December.
“We understand food businesses work long hours, leaving little time to read through new guidance. However, easy-to-understand information is available on the Food Standards Agency’s website to help businesses with these changes.
“Businesses could be missing out on vital custom by not providing clear and accurate allergen information about the food they sell or serve.
“These new rules will make food outlets more attractive to those who are unfortunate enough to suffer a food allergy, offering them a greater degree of confidence that the food they’re served is safe for them to eat.”
Croydon Council’s food safety team will be working with the FSA to make sure businesses know what to do and how to provide safe fare for those with food allergies and intolerances.
A graphic listing the 14 allergenic ingredients can be viewed at:
Food allergy involves the immune system. A reaction can occur within minutes following consumption of a food, symptoms include itching, pain, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
Food intolerance does not involve the immune system and a reaction can occur within hours consumption of the food, symptoms can include eczema, bloating, diarrhoea, weight loss. Symptoms can remain with the individual for hours or days.
In the UK, it is estimated that one to two per cent of adults and five to eight of children have a food allergy. This equates to around two million people living in the UK with a food allergy and this figure does not include those with food intolerances.
This means the actual number of affected people living with food allergy and/or food intolerance is considerably more.
The FSA has produced resources that can be found at: www.food.gov.uk/allergen-resources
(Source: Croydon council press release)
COUNCIL BUSINESS LOAN FUND REACHES £2M LANDMARK
Funding provided by Croydon council to support existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs has hit the £2m milestone.
The Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund (CELF) has been providing loans of up to £5,000 for start-ups and up to £25,000 to small businesses, since it started in 2008.
Managed by GLE, one of the UK’s most active supporters of small business, the fund targets those that have difficulty accessing finance from banks.
As a result, funding has been lent to more than 200 businesses, creating and protecting a total of around 300 local jobs.
PHK Enterprises Ltd, which trades as Beanies Café, in Middle Street, Croydon, is the latest business to receive a loan, bringing the total amount issued from the CELF to £2m.
Cllr Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: “The council is passionate about supporting small businesses and helping local aspiring start-ups make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
“Small businesses are vital to our local economy, creating jobs for local people, which is why it is really important we are there to help them succeed.
“Reaching the £2m mark with the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund is a fantastic achievement and testament to the support the council is providing.”
Nicholas Nicolaou, managing director of GLE oneLondon, said: “We are extremely proud to manage the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund since its inception in 2008, and we applaud Croydon Council’s leadership as a supporter of small business finance.”
GLE has been hosting free finance advice drop-in sessions for Croydon businesses every Wednesday.
They are held from 10am to 1pm on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 1 Matthews Yard and on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at Weatherill House, New South Quarter, 23 Whitestone Way.
For more information visit www.gle.co.uk/croydon (Source: Croydon council press release)