Several chefs, including some of the most famous in the United Kingdom, are blasting new European Union (EU) allergen regulations for restaurants as being a “bureaucratic nightmare.”
An open letter, from industry figures like “Great British Menu” judge Prue Leith, chef Albert Roux and chef Thomasina Miers, said the new rules stifle creativity.
Critics say regulations will drain resources and turn away customers
Regulations require all food handlers in the EU to display the presence of 14 allergens in any dish or drink served.
Those in the open letter say this regulation is unnecessary and a waste of resources. Jackie Hatton Bell, co-owner of Cwtch Restaurant, Pembrokeshire, wrote: “It is needless regulation and a drain on our resources having to evidence allergens that are so insignificant compared to some other allergens we regularly see.”
Leith wrote: “These new rules on the labeling of allergens are a bureaucratic nightmare that will inflict significant damage on the catering industry, particularly on smaller business.”
“It is a total fiasco,” Miers added.
Regulations draw responses from both sides of the argument
The letter was penned by the campaign group “Business for Britain,” which included commentary and signatures from industry professionals.
B4B CEO Matthew Elliot called the regulations “a regulatory sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
In response to the letter, Allergy UK’s deputy CEO Lindsay McManus urged the critics to remember what’s most important – the lives of those with food allergies.
“We fully understand that the new regulations with have an impact on the catering industry and many chefs will have concerns that their creativity will be stifled. We would however urge restaurants to consider why these regulations have been instrumented in the first place,” she said.
The letter and commentary can be read here.