Kebab shops in Somerset, Devon and Torbay are being warned they must do more to give allergen information to customers.
Inspections by Somerset, Devon and Torbay Trading Standards Service found over 40% of kebab takeaways failed to comply with Food Information laws, designed to keep consumers safe from allergens.
Between May 2018 and March 2019, Trading Standards Officers in Somerset, Devon and Torbay visited 38 takeaway businesses selling kebab meat to check whether the correct allergen information was being given to consumers.
After buying it, officers obtained the manufacturer’s label for the meat from the takeaway business. The meat was then sent for analysis to compare what was on the label with what was in the meat.
In five cases, milk was found in the purchased kebab meat when it was not disclosed on the label. Trading Standards alerted the Food Standards Agency of their findings as a Food Safety Incident and action was taken by the Local Authority with responsibility for the manufacturer.
In a further 12 cases where Trading Standards Officers had stated that they had allergies to wheat, eggs and milk, they were nevertheless served food which contained those allergens, due to poor procedures in the businesses selling the food.
All shops which were not compliant with the requirements have now been informed of these issues and given advice.
Further visits to these premises have been undertaken to ensure that their systems are able to provide consumers with the correct allergen information to enable them to make safe choices when ordering food.
In the coming year Somerset, Devon and Torbay will be carrying out further extensive allergen sampling to test compliance with the legal requirements to provide accurate food allergen information in catering businesses.
A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: “These results are worrying and disappointing, particularly bearing in mind that only two years ago a teenager in Bath died, due to eating kebab meat that contained yoghurt, which had not been disclosed on the kebab meat label. Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards are committed to improving the quality and accuracy of Food Information for consumers across our region and will continue to check, advise and, where necessary, take legal action to enforce the law in relation to allergens.”