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UK research reveals challenges facing young people with food allergies and intolerances

Over half of young people with a food allergy or intolerance have avoided eating out in the last six months due to their condition. This is according to a new survey, released by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), in partnership with Allergy UK (AUK) and the Anaphylaxis Campaign (AC), on the views of young people living with food allergies and intolerances. The results potentially show how food businesses can improve provisions for people with allergens.

The survey also revealed that while 67 percent of respondents reported being aware of the legal requirement of food businesses to provide information on the top 14 allergens, only 14 percent felt extremely confident asking for allergen information when dining out and 14 percent reported feeling not at all confident.

The FSA reports that other findings include:

  • 59 percent or respondents reported they tend to visit the same places when eating out.
  • 55 percent reported always researched the menu online before going to a new or unfamiliar place.
  • only 9 percent reported always contacting a restaurant in advance to check they provide allergen information.

“Working with AUK and AC, we are launching Easy to ASK, a campaign designed to empower young people to ask food businesses about allergens when eating out, so that they can make safe choices. The campaign follows several allergy-related deaths among young people – data shows that children and young adults are disproportionately more prone to die from an allergic reaction than adults,” FSA reports.

Easy to ASK is to serve as a reminder to businesses to be up front about the provision of accurate allergen information, particularly with this vulnerable group. Asking a customer if they have food allergies could save a life. The campaign includes the simple mnemonic:

  • Always ask about allergies
  • Speak up
  • Keep safe

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