Food Allergy: Is improved near-miss reporting needed in the hospitality sector?

With food allergies among the most common chronic diseases in Europe, a new report published in the UK highlights how robust ‘near-miss reporting’ throughout the food industry can recognise trends & potentially prevent serious allergic reactions and fatalities. In it’s first food allergy report, Hospitality Allergen Support UK (HASUK) has called for improved knowledge in the hospitality sector on food allergens and the need to include near-miss reporting as a standard within the food safety management system (FSMS) across the hospitality sector.

Today, 44% of British adults suffer from at least one allergy, a staggering figure which prompted HASUK to undertake a report to first understand how the food and hospitality sectors cater to people with allergies. ‘Near miss incidents may occur due to a lack of confidence & knowledge of how to manage allergen free requests’, said Jacqui McPeake (HASUK). She added,’ There is still a lack of understanding about allergens and messages such as ‘ little won’t do any harm’ and not listening to the customer’s requests are at the heart of most issues’.

‘Don’t dismiss a Near Miss’ is the slogan or message HASUK wants to convey to staff. Along with adopting the slogan of recognising, reporting & reviewing near-miss incidents. A culture of confident transparency will enable staff and supervisors to challenge potential risks and identify new controls. Best practices currently revolve around allergen procedures such as allergen spillage procedures, recording near-misses including robust investigation and root cause(s) with appropriate actions and updates for the wider team to implement going forward.