Allergens poorly reported in shops, restaurants
Many supermarkets, restaurants, and bakeries do not properly inform customers about which allergens have been processed in food or in a dish. This is reported by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), which examined more than 5,000 companies in 2021. The NVWA issued 3,399 warnings for violations in this area and imposed 591 fines of 525 euros.
Of the 3,196 hospitality businesses audited, including restaurants, hotels, and cafeterias, 2,088 did not meet the requirements. In the craft industries such as bakeries, ice cream parlors, and butchers, 977 of the 1,910 audited companies were in error. In the retail sector, such as supermarkets, 191 out of 471 companies failed to properly report allergens.
Allergens, like shellfish, nuts, and gluten are substances in foods that can make some people seriously ill or have an allergic reaction. Entrepreneurs are obliged to list 14 common allergens if they have been used in the preparation of food.
Since last year, control of allergen information, in addition to the supervision of hygiene and pest control, has been a permanent part of the NVWA inspections in the catering industry, specialty stores, and retail. A warning is issued in the event of a shortcoming. If the company continues to make mistakes, a fine will follow. This will continue until the business lists the allergens properly.
Reporting by ANP