ALLERGY sufferers can breathe a sigh of relief as trading standards drive takeaways to inform the public about ingredients.

Trading standards officers started the initiative yesterday (April 28) to help caterers and takeaway operators act responsibly in informing the public about food ingredients so that allergy sufferers are not at risk.

The countywide programme coincides with National Allergy Awareness Week, which runs from April 28 to May 4.

Mike Smyth, Cumbria Trading Standards Manager, said: “Instances of allergic reactions are relatively low but the effects can be devastating or even fatal.

“We want consumers, and visitors to Cumbria, to enjoy eating out as a pleasant social activity and not have to worry about undeclared ingredients.”

Cumbria Trading Standards Officers will be visiting establishments to advise them on the dangers of food allergies and how they need to adapt to comply with changes in legislation due at the end of the year.

There are currently a range of foods which are known to cause allergic reactions including gluten, nuts, eggs, fish and milk.

Pre-packed foods have to declare these but, until the new EU law changes on December 13, takeaways and restaurants currently do not.

However the greatest number of incidents, including deaths, have arisen from the undisclosed presence of allergens in takeaway or catered foods.

“We will be advising food businesses, both prior and subsequent to the new legislation, to comply with the new requirements and give accurate allergen advice to all their customers,” added Mr Smyth.