The easy-to-use facility was launched by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar recently to help food businesses comply with their legal requirements to display allergen information on food so that consumers can make more informed choices about the food they purchase.
The tool is an additional application as part of the FSAI’s MenuCal calorie calculator and is available free-of-charge. MenuCal enables food service businesses to calculate calorie values in the food they serve to customers.
The legal requirement to display allergen information applies to all food businesses including pubs, restaurants, takeaways, contract caterers and food stalls as well as businesses offering delivery services.
Retail outlets such as shops and supermarkets selling pre-packed food are also required to display allergen declarations for non-pre-packed products.
Written food allergen information must be easily located and accessible to the consumer and clearly identify the food allergen associated with individual food items.
“Last year I made it compulsory for food businesses to label allergens on non-pre-packed food products,” commented the Minister, “This new MenuCal facility is a really useful online tool that reminds businesses about allergens when they’re calculating the calorie content of their menus.”
According to FSAI Chief Executive Dr Pamela Byrne, the allergen tool streamlines the management of allergen information by enabling chefs to electronically store allergen information for all the ingredients they use in their own secure account. This means when ingredients change, food businesses simply update the information in MenuCal and every recipe that uses the ingredients will update automatically.
The Minister also pronounced himself “delighted that other countries are now looking to adopt it”.
Additional resources include a leaflet and FAQs are also available on its website.”