Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Is Eating Out Dairy Free Easier With The New Law?

Eating Out Dairy Free?

As many of you will know the law changed on the 13th December 2013, which means all foods sold in the UK or provided by childcare workers such as nursery's and childminders must clearly state any of the most common 14 allergens present in the food or the staff selling/providing the food must have the allergy information to hand when asked for it by the consumer.  There has been a lot of confusion around this new legislation and manufacturers are still allowed to sell off old stock which may not have the allergens highlighted in bold on the ingredient list.  If you want detailed information about this new law click here: New Allergy Law 2013     

After reading that food establishments could be fined if they get it wrong or are unable to provide customers with a list of allergens that the food item contains, I was excited.  I naively thought this would make eating out dairy free much easier for us.  I thought we would just be able to pop in to any cafe and clearly see what foods are dairy free, however in my experience it seems more and more food establishments are putting up signs to cover them from a legal point a view, for example:

On the 13th December 2013 I went into Greggs bakers at the Manchester Fort retail park.  Greggs is not somewhere I would usually eat, especially since having my son and him being diagnosed with cow's milk protein allergy.  I usually assume most pastry's and cakes will have some form of dairy in them, but we were out shopping with my mum and she fancied a sausage roll so we popped in.  I thought i'd see what me and my son could have for lunch in there, seen as though the new law came into effect that day I thought maybe there is something we can have (I am also dairy free).   First I looked at the cakes on the counter, I was expecting little signs in front of them with a list of ingredients or possible allergens in bold.  My local Sainsbury's and Waitrose had already put this in place in their cafes the week before.  However there was no information to be seen other than this 'lovely' poster on the wall near the door as you walk in...

Eating out dairy free, cow's milk protein allergy
Greggs Bakers

So this sign basically excludes me and my son from the whole  shop.  I noticed they had a stand selling walkers crisps (various flavours) some of which do not contain dairy but with this sign  in place should we really bother spending our money here? They also  have a drinks section, again many of the drinks do not contain dairy but because Greggs want to cover themselves from a legal point of  view and make their lives easier they have decided to display this sign.  

Rather than try to accommodate people with allergens or give them information so they can make an informed decision about what to eat, Greggs have decided to exclude them from the whole shop.  

I have spoken to other parents of children with cow’s milk protein who have also struggled eating out - more so with the new laws.  I really  thought the new law was going to make things easier for us. 

Please share your experiences of eating out dairy free with us.  You can share it with us on our Facebook page, leave a comment below or email me at  livingwithcmpa at gmail dot com, I would love to hear about your experiences of eating out dairy free since the new law came into effect in December 2013. 

The Food Standards Agency provide FREE online training about the new law, so there's no excuses for anyone selling or serving food to get it wrong in my opinion and if chefs don't know what the food they are cooking contains do you really want to eat there???  

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Eating out dairy free

Disclaimer: Always double check ingredients with staff before eating here they can change their menus and foods used at any time.  
May contains are always a risk.
This post is about the Greggs I visited at Manchester Fort Retail Park and may not represent all Greggs. 

We have moved to a new website - Click here to go to Living with cow's milk protein allergy's new site.

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