Encouraging dialogue between customers and businesses is the most effective way of tackling food allergens issues, according to UKHospitality.

UKH has responded to the Government’s consultation on allergen regulations for prepacked food advocating the promotion of voluntary labelling and “ask about allergens” stickers.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Food safety is of paramount importance and it is vital that customers are kept safe and confident when they purchase our food and drink.

“The best way to ensure this is to facilitate an environment which encourages an active dialogue and partnership of responsibility between customers and businesses. We need our customers to feel comfortable about asking team members about allergens and confident that the information they receive is accurate.

“It may be tempting to rely on full labelling, but this option is potentially dangerous. Not only might it prevent customers from entering into a dialogue with staff, but there are also risks regarding mislabelling. It would also not be practical, as it would not circumvent the issue of cross-contamination which would be ever-present.

“FSA approved, consistent stickering encouraging customers to ask about allergens alongside continued staff training and industry-led action is the best way to ensure that customers get the most effective and accurate information.”