The investigation by BBC Panorama found that some restaurants listed on Just Eat were unable to provide information on the presence of allergens within the dishes when requested.
As part of the investigation, the BBC also sent two dishes purchased from two different restaurants listed on Just Eat for testing to identify if they contained wheat and gluten, after the two restaurants confirmed the dishes to be free from them. The results showed that both the dishes from two different restaurants did contain wheat and gluten after the restaurants told the customer they did not.
These results are a cause for concern and the Anaphylaxis Campaign is dismayed by food businesses flouting allergen labelling laws and untimely putting food allergic customers at risk.
When ordering food through a third party such as Just Eat or Deliveroo, who is responsible for providing allergen information?
When a third party is involved in distance sales such as ‘Just Eat or Deliveroo’ the food business and the third party must work together to ensure that the required allergen information is provided to the consumer, and that the consumer is clear on how to obtain the allergen information. However, the ultimate responsibility for current and accurate allergen information to be given to the consumer lies with the food business.
If you are going to order food through a third-party broker, such as Just Eat or Deliveroo we strongly advise that you make direct contact with the food business to ask about allergens. Some example questions to ask;
- I have an allergy to X, can you cater for this?
- Can I see the allergen information?
- Can I, or can you, speak to the chef about how my meal is prepared?
- How is cross-contamination of my allergen prevented?
- Can you make a note about my allergy on my order?
- Can you confirm this meal is free from my allergen?
If a food business informs you that they cannot safety cater for you due to your allergy or you are not confident in their answers it is best to not take the risk and not order food from them.
What are the laws related to food business and the provision of allergen information?
Food business has the right to not serve customers if they do not want to, for example, if they believe they cannot safely provide food for them. However, if they do agree to serve you there are several different laws they must abide by, in reference to allergens:
The European Union Food Information for Consumers Regulation which came into force on 13 December 2014.
- Information on any of the 14 allergens used as ingredients will need to be provided for foods sold without packaging or wrapped on site. This information should be available and easily accessible to all customers, it can be provided in writing, or given verbally, however, there must be clear visible signs displayed to inform customers how to obtain allergen information.
What should I do if I believe a food business has served me food that contains my allergen after they said it did not?
The Food Standards Agency is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK and it works with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations. You can report a food problem via the Food Standards Agency website here.
You will be asked for information relating to where you ate, what you ordered and what information you gave the food business in relation to allergens. This will all be then passed to your local environmental health or trading standards team who will conduct the investigation. If you have a sample of the food, you should let them know about this. The investigation will set to find out if the business was compliant with the allergen legislation.