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Averting allergy risks

With a growing number of people suffering from food allergies, many restaurants and takeaway outlets are looking to their insurers to make sure they are covered against liability claims.

In the UK, there are an estimated two million people living with a diagnosed food allergy and 600,000 – that’s one in one hundred – with coeliac disease.

Of course, some of these are mild allergies and intolerances, and some of these will include allergens that don’t come into play within your fish and chip shop. With so much at stake, though, it’s important to do all you can to ensure your customers aren’t accidentally eating something that will make them unwell.

Reducing your risk

There are a number of practices that can help to minimise the risk of contaminating foods with allergens. Better menu labelling has been raised most recently and there have been many calls for tighter food labelling legislation as a result.

To reduce the potential for allergic reactions and ensuing liability issues, clearly you should highligh suitable options for people with allergies, for example, nut free, gluten free and dairy free options – and of course it’s mandatory to include warnings of the 14 common allergens, such as nuts or eggs.

The FSA, among others, has produced excellent resources to help businesses clearly communicate this information, including user-friendly guides to the law, printable information sheets on allergens in several languages, and ‘matrix’ sheets that kitchens are advised to print out and fill in, to keep a record of allergenic ingredients.

Once you have highlighted that a menu item is safe, it is important to ensure that it does not cause harm. Training your kitchen staff on safe food handling and preparation, and preventing cross-contamination, is paramount.

Your fish and chip shop covers

Taking positive steps to help prevent potential liability claims caused by allergies is essential. Making sure your business is covered if someone has a reaction to a dish on your menu is equally important.

As well as property and contents, business interruption and employers’ liability insurance, for fish and chip shops and restaurants, both public and products liability insurance should be added into the mix.

Products liability insurance

Products liability insurance provides cover to help protect your business in the case of claims for illness, personal injury or property damage as a result of products you have sold or supplied. It should also cover any foods you sell to customers to take away and eat at home.

Your products liability insurance will cover legal defence costs and compensation that you might need to pay out, so it’s important that you have the most appropriate levels of indemnity in place.

Public liability insurance

As people come to your business premises to eat or to pick up food, public liability insurance is also important. It means that you are covered for your legal defence costs and compensation that you may have to pay out if someone slips, trips or harms themselves because of your business’ negligence, while they are on your premises.

Wrapped – specialist fish and chip shop insurance

Our aim is to understand your requirements and to provide you with cover and added benefits that offer value for money but also gives you the peace of mind in knowing that your business is properly protected should the worst happen and you need to make a claim.

For more information about Wrapped or a free no obligation quotation, talk to the Ryan’s team today. We will happily review your current insurance arrangements to ensure that you are properly covered to meet your insurance requirements.

Call 0800 093 3018, e-mail or visit

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