NHS Trusts / 07.09.2021
The simple way to manage allergens in patient dining
October sees another huge step forward for food allergen safety with Natasha’s Law coming into effect in the UK. All Pre-Packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) food products will have to display ingredient and allergen information on the pack and, as a result, there’ll be much more transparency around what people are buying and eating.
This event will, quite rightly, hit the headlines. But, in reality, it’s just one small part of enormous efforts to protect those with food allergies and intolerances that never stop within the foodservice industry. The UK Food Standards Agency’s ambition is for “the UK to become the best place in the world for people who have food allergies and intolerances”, and we’re one hundred percent behind this - whether we’re nourishing patients on a hospital ward, fuelling staff through their shift, or providing a bite to eat for care home residents. Allergen safety lies at the heart of our healthcare foodservices.
We believe that attention to detail is a critical part of keeping patients, residents, staff and customers safe, and it’s important that this applies to all our teams, from the CEO down. It’s a central commitment that we’ve integrated across our business, creating a food safety management system that provides specific guidance as to how to control allergens. And it translates into comprehensive food allergen training to all our frontline teams.
We also believe in vigilance. The moment a food stuff enters our supply chain, we’ve mapped its contents and identified any allergens, and we track its use from farm to fork. If we tweak a dish or add something new to the menu, we do so knowing exactly how it impacts on our allergen information, and we update what we share about allergens and nutrition accordingly. We pride ourselves on providing clear, consistent allergen information to patients and customers at every point of service, whether that’s on a ward, a home, or in one of our restaurants.
Our Steamplicity patented micro-steaming patient dining system, used across a wide range of healthcare settings, is a prime example of how we deliver fresh, tasty nutrition that’s completely transparent about allergens. All our Cuisine Centres that make our Steamplicity meals operate to the British Retail Consortium’s global food safety standards, and every meal is labelled in line with Food Standards Agency specifications. Every location serving Steamplicity has full details of the 14 major allergens used in our menus and we also offer an ‘Allergy Aware’ menu that’s been crafted by our chefs and dieticians for those with food allergies and intolerances.
Our ambition is to make food safety through allergen awareness as easy as possible for the staff serving Steamplicity meals and the people enjoying them. We’re currently fine-tuning our patient meal ordering tablet-based system, so that patients will only be offered menu choices that exclude the food allergies and intolerances they’ve registered with the hospital. This will allow patients the freedom to choose what they fancy, without the disappointment of then being told it’s not suitable for their dietary requirements.
We’re proud of how we protect patient and staff safety with our comprehensive approach to allergens. If you’d like to find out more about how Steamplicity can deliver tasty and safe patient dining in your healthcare setting, get in touch to arrange a time to talk through the options with one of our experts.