LACA, the school food people, launched an Allergens Guidance and Risk Analysis Process (RAP) to support schools, caterers and pupils understand best practice with regards to managing allergens safely.
The guidance notes have been made public so they can achieve maximum impact while the risk assessment tool is only available to LACA members.
The RAP allows users to assess individual pupils risk and the processes that are being used by the school catering service to manage that risk. It will then provide you with a PDF document for you to file and refer to as well as advice on how to reduce the risk should that be required.
Stephen Forster, chair of LACA, said, “Dealing with special diets and food intolerances is one of the biggest challenges that we have in our industry. The rising incidents of children at school with special requirements is a huge concern to all of us. It is likely to be the one thing about our jobs that keeps us awake at night.
“It struck me that whilst we are all dealing with this, there is no common framework for managing the risks associated with it and that’s the reason I set about to do something about that during my term of office as your chair.”
In the UK an estimated 7% of children suffer from a food allergy. While some reactions can be treated, some can be more severe or even fatal.
Jessica Crane, senior nutritionist at Compass Group, added, “Within our own ways of working we are fortunate to have nutritionists who would actually use this tool whenever we get a request of support for an allergy from a particular child we will put it through this risk assessment.
“We will just build it an as an extra step as part of our review process. So as Stephen alluded to this risk assessment and guidance isn’t the final line it got to be a part of wider risk assessment, which we will be doing.
“Ultimately by using it in this way as that extra stop check we should be able to make sure we reduce any possible risk and make it safer to feed any child.