Other Legal Requirements
Mark S. Elliott has spent 25 years working in various management roles within the tenanted and leased divisions of the UK's largest breweries and pub companies. His extensive knowledge and day-to-day involvement with pubs and publicans make him well qualified to know what is required to run a successful pub. He shares his knowledge and many 'insider tips' with you in this book. Mark is based in Cockermouth, Cumbria.
OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
Disposal of cooking oil
You are required to store your waste cooking oil safely to prevent spillage, and arrange for it to be collected by an authorised collector who will take your oil to an authorised site for recovery or disposal. Authorised collectors need to be registered with the Environment Agency and you are advised to check their registration documents before allowing them to dispose of your waste oil.
Oil waste must not be poured down drains or sewers as this can lead to blockages, attract vermin, and may pollute watercourses, which may result in prosecution.
Trading Standards law dictates that food descriptions on menus, adverts, chalkboards or given verbally must not be false or misleading. A description can become false or misleading due to something being left out of a name or phrase, for example:
- The most common description, which is left out of a menu making it misleading, is the wording ‘formed’ or ‘reformed’. A reformed product has been chopped, processed, and formed into a particular shape, usually to resemble a slice of meat or piece of seafood.
The most frequent examples of these products are reformed ham, chicken, and scampi; and to properly describe these products the word ‘reformed’ must be included on any descriptions of these.
Other important descriptions are:
- Homemade: which should be used only for food made on the premises.
- Fresh: which must not have been frozen or canned.
- Suitable for vegetarians: which must not contain any animal products.
- Onion rings: which must be made from rings cut from an onion and not describe products made from chopped onion and potato.
- Smoked: which must be traditionally-smoked food, not food that has chemicals added to give a smoke flavour.
- Steak and burger weights: which must be stated as the approximate uncooked weight.
GM (genetically modified) foods
At the time of writing, there is no GM fresh produce available in the UK. However, 3 genetically modified foods and ingredients are currently available in the UK, these being:
- GM soya;
- GM maize;
- GM tomatoes sold only as tomato puree.
If you sell GM food or your food contains GM ingredients, you are legally required to let your customers know this. You are required to do this by putting a statement next to the menu item or clearly stating that some of your food may contain GM ingredients and that further information can be obtained from your staff. You must ensure that you have a procedure for providing information to your staff that indicates which menu items contain GM ingredients.
Food allergy information
Every year, about 10 people die in the UK as a result of an allergic reaction to food, and many more are hospitalised (Food Standards Agency website). Severe allergic reactions are most commonly caused by the following foods, known as the ‘big 8’:
- 1peanuts (also known as groundnuts);
- 2nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts;
- 5sesame seeds;
Some people avoid certain types of foods because of food intolerance. About 1 person in 100 has an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley (sometimes oats), because they have coeliac disease. Other people need to avoid lactose, found in milk.
It is important for you and your staff to be able to inform customers of the ingredients used in a meal, if asked. European Law (General Food Law Regulation 178/2002) prohibits ‘unsafe’ food being put onto the market. In deciding whether a food is ‘unsafe’, the information which a business provides to its customers in the form of staff comments and menu descriptions is taken into account. Some foods may be regarded as ‘unsafe’ to people with food allergies. This means that businesses must give people with food allergies accurate information about the ingredients in their food.
Here is some useful advice from Allergy UK’s ‘Caterer’s Guide to Severe Food Allergies’ (available via their website: www.allergyuk.org):
- Ensure there is always a nominated person on duty who knows, or can find out, the ingredients of all dishes.
- Ask suppliers to provide accurate written details about all ingredients, including any planned changes.
- Try to avoid the indiscriminate use of nuts, eg powdered nuts as a garnish, unless this is an essential part of the recipe.
- If a dish is meant to contain nuts, make sure this is reflected in the name: eg Nut & Carrot Salad.
- Remember that salad oil may be derived from nut oil.
- If possible, keep certain preparation areas designated as nut-free areas.
- Put up a prominent sign encouraging people with allergies to question staff.
- Include a prominent statement on the menu encouraging customers with severe allergies to question staff.
For example, this could state: ‘Some of our dishes contain nuts. If you are allergic to nuts, please, ask staff to suggest a nut-free meal’.
- Try to ensure that where a dish contains potent allergens – particularly nuts – this is indicated in some way on the menu. Some restaurants adopt a circled ‘N’.
- Organise a training session on allergies for your staff. Make sure that all new staff members are aware of the serious allergies.