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Food: Allergies

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what training and advice staff in the Refreshment Department receive on food allergies. (158622)

Food handlers working in the House of Commons Refreshment Department receive training on food allergy risks and control procedures as part of their food hygiene training. Over 250 staff have attended foundation or basic level training, and more than 10 per cent. of staff are further trained to intermediate or advanced level. Specific allergy awareness training was delivered to approximately 40 staff in November to December 2006. In consultation with an external specialist, the Department is currently in the process of designing and coordinating a tailored programme of food allergy training, to be delivered to all food handlers over the next six months.

Procedures for managing the risks and control of food allergens are set out in the Department's Food Safety Manual, which is regularly reviewed, updated and promulgated to staff. Further guidance is set out in the publication "Allergy Catering Manual", a copy of which is provided to food procurement and food stores staff as well as being available in each kitchen.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission when the Refreshment Department last reviewed its policies and procedures on food allergies. (158624)

The Refreshment Department last reviewed its policies and procedures on food allergies in January 2007. This was carried out in consultation with the Department's retained food hygiene adviser, Hygiene Audit Systems, who have to date provided food allergy training to 800 environmental health practitioners under a contract awarded by the Food Standards Agency.

The Department's Food Safety Policy and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Manual, which sets out procedures for food handlers in respect of the control of food allergens, was last reviewed by Westminster city council's Environmental Health Officer as part of their regular inspection of the House of Commons catering premises in March 2007.