How can Marka help with due diligence for food safety?

4 May 2021

What does due diligence mean in food?

In food safety, due diligence refers to being able to prove that your business has done everything reasonably possible to prevent food safety breaches. Following and recording a suitable HACCP system is an effective way to evidence this and can be your primary defence against legal issues under the Food Safety Act 1990. It helps to prove that you applied all reasonable precautions and due diligence to avoid committing an offence.

The Food Safety Act states that a business has a due diligence defence if:

  • They carried out reasonable checks of their food in all the circumstances or it was reasonable for them to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied the food.
  • The offence was due to an act or default of another person who was not under the business’s control, or due to reliance on information supplied by this person. For example, if they needed to inform the business of an allergy.
  • They had no reason to suspect that an act or omission would result in an offence under the relevant provision.

What will change with the introduction of Natasha’s Law?

Due diligence at each stage of the supply chain will be important to maintain an accurate ingredients list, particularly when it comes to allergens. Be sure that your ingredients are well managed. This means carrying out due diligence on your supply chain and having a robust system in place to identify changes to ingredients. Businesses should consider maintaining an allergens and ingredients database that must be kept up to date. Allergen labelling best practice includes adding “may contain” ingredients on products. This further minimises the risk to allergen sufferers and mitigates the legal risk of claims against food businesses.

Below are important allergen procedures which should be adopted:

  • Awareness – All staff should be aware of the importance of allergen awareness. Members of the kitchen team and front of house must be trained and knowledgeable of the allergen content of food and trained in allergens.
  • Clear, well presented, up to date allergen information of foods sold/served in the food establishment must be readily available for members of the public and staff made aware of these. Menus and/or display boards can be used for this purpose.
  • Any changes to the menu or any changes of ingredients are updated in the allergen information and all staff made aware.
  • Segregation – Ensure that all allergen products are kept in sealed plastic containers to avoid any cross contamination of products and ensure all allergens ingredients are kept separate.
  • Whilst much focus is placed on the 14 allergens that must be declared by law, it is important to remember that there are many other ingredients that your guests could have an intolerance to.  It is therefore critical that the same due diligence is applied in this instance.

Whether you’re an enterprise business with multiple stores or an independent business owner – you need to know what the 14 allergens are and how they affect your business.

How can Marka help?

Easily create and manage menus with Marka’s powerful administration panel.  From Ingredients & Allergens, Nutrition and Food preparation instructions, our allergen compliance solution will ensure your food preparation environment has the accountability you need to serve your customers with confidence whilst fully adhering to the new food allergen regulations.

Once you’ve added the products, connect the Marka tablet app and you can start printing straight away! Any changes to products will synchronize to the tablet straight away, making food safety at work easy for you and your staff.