Teen’s death prompts FSA to call for allergy details on menus | UK | News

December 14, 2023
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A teenager’s death has prompted the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to back calls for allergy information to be legally required on restaurant menus.

Owen Carey, 18, died after an allergic reaction to a buttermilk-coated grilled chicken burger. Owen had reportedly told staff he was allergic to dairy.

Since his death in 2017, his family have campaigned for Owen’s Law, which would mandate food outlets put allergy information on the face of the main menu to ensure customers have “full visibility” on what they order.

Owen’s dad, Paul Carey, said he had a “tear in his eye” as FSA board members said they would recommend the change in legislation to Government ministers.

The FSA agreed it would like to see written allergy information made compulsory in restaurants and coffee shops. Board members will now write to ministers to discuss the idea.

Mr Carey said: “I’m just having a little celebratory whisky because we’ve had some good results today from the FSA.

“It’s been a struggle, we’ve been going at this for quite a few years – it has sometimes felt like it was never going to get anywhere, so yes, I was a little bit overwhelmed and had a little tear in my eye today when they said they were going to recommend to the minister that it becomes law.

“We’re hoping that people with allergies can go out and eat in comfort now if you have this law, because they can see what’s in their food.”

The law would push responsibility “further up the management chain” rather than resting with sometimes young and poorly trained staff. Mr Carey said the FSA has listened to the family and praised its professionalism and objectivity throughout the long process.

Professor Susan Jebb, chairwoman of the FSA, said: “At the FSA we are committed to making lives better for the two million people who have a food allergy, food intolerance or coeliac disease.

“In today’s discussions, it was clear that the board feel that we should set an expectation that food businesses like coffee shops and restaurants provide allergen information in writing as well as having a conversation.

“To maximise the likelihood of this happening, written information should be a legal requirement, rather than just guidance. I will write to ministers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The board would like to see them take this forward on a four-country basis.

“I would also like to thank the Carey family for all their work in highlighting the importance of this issue since their son Owen died tragically after unwittingly eating food he was allergic to in 2017.”

The teenager, from Crowborough, East Sussex, had a fatal allergic reaction after eating the burger during his birthday celebrations with his family and girlfriend at a Byron Burger restaurant in London.

The law would push responsibility “further up the management chain” rather than resting with sometimes young and poorly trained staff.

Mr Carey said the FSA has listened to the family and praised its professionalism and objectivity throughout the long process.

Professor Susan Jebb, chairwoman of the FSA, said: “At the FSA we are committed to making lives better for the two million people who have a food allergy, food intolerance or coeliac disease.

“In today’s discussions, it was clear that the board feel that we should set an expectation that food businesses like coffee shops and restaurants provide allergen information in writing as well as having a conversation.

“To maximise the likelihood of this happening, written information should be a legal requirement, rather than just guidance.

“I will write to ministers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The board would like to see them take this forward on a four-country basis.

“I would also like to thank the Carey family for all their work in highlighting the importance of this issue since their son Owen died tragically after unwittingly eating food he was allergic to in 2017.”

The teenager, from Crowborough, East Sussex, had a fatal allergic reaction after eating the burger during his birthday celebrations with his family and girlfriend at a Byron Burger restaurant in London.



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