Food Allergy Process and Approach
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Allergy Service Process
These steps summarise the process we follow at our restaurants (Banjo, Jersey Crab Shack and Oyster Box) for those with a food allergy. Please read the further information below for full details about our approach to allergens. For Café Ubé where we we don’t provide food prepared to order, we provide predominantly items we make, package and label ouselves, we follow the equivalent of Natasha’s Law in the U.K.
- We provide an allergen menu for all of our dishes, detailing the 14 main food allergens. This is available in our restaurants and cafés; from our websites; and on our ordering apps (at Jersey Crab Shack and Café Ubé). The allergen menus for all our restaurants and cafés can be found on About Us section of this website.
- We advise that guests with allergies let us know about the allergy when they book a table.
- Guests are requested to advise their server of any allergies before ordering and to use the allergen menu from which to choose their food, so that they can make sure it doesn’t contain the relevant allergen.
- We request that guests mention the allergy each time they make an order even if made with same server.
- When we take the guest’s order via our electronic ordering system, a marker is put against the dish to warn the kitchen of the customer’s allergy and the relevant allergen(s).
- At Jersey Crab Shack, where orders can be made via an app, at the end of the list of menu items there is an allergy section where you can flag any of the 14 allergens so the same process is followed. We just ask at Jersey Crab Shack that orders via app are made separately for the person suffering from an allergy and placed directly with their server. Customers using the app are asked if they have a food allergy with a pop-up and if they answer “yes”, they are requested not to use the app and place an order directly with a server, although our app does have the ability for customer to flag allergies.
- The kitchen will then take all reasonable precautions to avoid cross contamination, as well as putting a blue allergen flag on the dish so servers and customers know that the kitchen has received the message.
- This blue flag gives customers the confidence that their allergy has been understood by the kitchen, and provides reassurance that every reasonable step has been taken to make sure that the dish has not been contaminated by the relevant ingredient(s).
- It’s important that customers with allergies make sure they mention this to our team, so that we can ensure the above process is followed. No restaurant or food supplier can offer a 100% guarantee that they will never unknowingly serve an ingredient that is not disclosed; and risks are still possible from cross-contamination or human error, but we invest considerable resources to ensure customers can be confident when they dine with us, and that they have the information to enable them to make the choice whether to dine with us or choose a particular dish. We know that those with food allergies understand that human error can occcur but our focus is to reduce the risk to as low as possible with the process and approach we adopt.
- If a customer is allergic to an allergen that is not listed on the 14 key allergens tracked on the menu, we cannot follow the same pre-planned approach. There are risks from allergens contained in bought-in ingredients that are made from several ingredients as they are not required to be labelled either at all (if less than 25% of product) or won’t contain any “may contain” labeling as required for the 14 key allergens. We therefore cannot follow the same level of process around menu design, recipes and handling and cooking of non-key allergens which is carefully planned in advance. We therefore strongly recommend a customer with a life-threatening allergy who is severely allergic to ingredients that are not one of the 14 key allergens assesses the risk before dining with us. Based on customer feedback, we will from Spring 2023 however be adding information for some allergens not on the key 14 list, such as chilli, onion, garlic, tomato etc, into the dish description so that customers are aware which to avoid. Many customers who wish to avoid these ingredients do so as a dietary choice or do not have severe life-threatening allegies. In this and any other case where a customer decides to order a dish that doesn’t follow the strict allergen process, we explain our approach to the customer and mark “APE” (Allergen Process Explained) along side the order as a record.
- We are unable to make modifications or substitutions to our dishes, so we kindly request that all guests, especially those with allergies, choose dishes as per the menu. Any modifications or substitutions could impact the accuracy of our allergen menu, putting guests with allergies at risk, and could also lead to issues with slower service; stock control; and food not looking or tasting as good as it should.
- Our menu and recipe planning also provides an additional level of protection to those with the most common allergies to the highest risk allergens (peanuts, nuts, milk, sesame, fish, crustaceans and molluscs) and the other seven allergens (cereal containing gluten, soya, sulphites, mustard, celery, lupin, eggs).
- During menu development, all new dish recipes are given a risk score based on certain criteria, such as allergens most likely to lead to anaphylaxis (based on hospital admissions); whether the allergen is visible in the dish to the customer; and whether there are suitable alternative ingredients that could be used without compromising the dish. As an example of the changes made based on this approach, we have taken the following steps.
- We currently have no dishes in our kitchens that contain tree nuts or peanuts (we do sell sealed and clearly labelled snacks with peanuts and tree nuts in Café Ubé but only where they have been packed in an offsite facility)
- A dish would be served with whole prawns, but not a curry with fish or shrimp sauce
- We have swapped butter on our kids’ menu peas for olive oil
- All our managers, order-taking wait staff, chefs and kitchen staff are provided with training including being sent a dedicated JPRestaurants training video as part of their induction training. We stress the importance of the processes we have in place and the potential danger to customers with allergies of eating ingredients that may lead to a severe reaction
- All our locations and outlets have received a 5* (Excellent) Food Safety rating from the Jersey Environmental Health Department under the Eat Safe scheme. This indicates we are an xcellent performer, fully compliant with the law and adopt best practice and overall have very high standard of food safety management practices.
- We appreciate we can’t reduce the risk to zero, but we feel this approach will help avoid some of the more common exposures (often due to errors or mistakes) to high risk allergens in our restaurants.
Our Approach to Food Allergies
For some customers, “free-from diets” are a lifestyle choice, but for the increasing number of people (including more than 5% of children) who suffer from food allergies, eating out can be a matter of life or death, or can at least result in a trip to the hospital, which is not how they want to end an enjoyable night out.
At JPRestaurants, we take these matters very seriously and we have put in place a series of measures to ensure customers with food allergies and intolerances can eat at our restaurants and cafés with confidence. Whilst we have to balance the needs of the majority of customers, and can’t protect against every eventuality of minor cross contamination for all allergens unless we exclude certain ingredients from our kitchens, we aim to strike the right balance.
What is important is that we are clear with the information we provide, our staff are trained, and customers with food allergies are put into a position where they can make an educated choice as to whether or not to dine with us, or whether or not to order a particular dish. We understand that those with life-threatening food allergies make decisions on whether to eat with us based on the information we provide, so we wish to be as transparent as possible.
Our process starts with recipe development around three months prior to our seasonal menu changes. We may decide to exclude common allergens from certain dishes so they appeal to a wider group of people and we use a risk scoring template for every new receipe that aims to reduce the risks posed by food allergens that are most likely to result in severe reactions.
As an example, we don’t use peanuts or tree nuts in any of our kitchens (they are, however, available in sealed packets as part of confectionery sold in Café Ubé), and we use gluten-free flour in many of our batters. We also don’t allow recipes with some higher risk allergens that are hidden or concealed in the dish. We need to srike a balance but our aim is to ensure a wide and choice for all diners while reducing the risk for those with food allergies.
We also carry out due diligence on our suppliers to ensure we have confidence in what they deliver to our kitchens and carefully plan new dishes and kitchen processes to ensure we minimize the risk of allergen exposure to those with food allergies.
The second part of the process is following key parts of the UK and European regulations on allergens (which are not law in Jersey). We publish a list of all dishes available in our restaurants and provide a simple means of identifying which dishes contain any of the 14 main allergens. These allergen menus are available on our customer restaurant and café websites in the menu sections.
Separately, for those with dietary preferences but not allergies, we also publish key indicators on our main menus to give information about popular dietary choices – for example, our menus show clearly which dishes are Vegetarian (V), Vegan (VV) or Dairy Free (DF), and which dishes have no gluten-containing ingredients (NGCI). This helps customers to make an informed choice about which dish they should order, and avoids confusion between customers and our teams.
The third part of the process is staff training and process. All our managers, order-taking wait staff, chefs and kitchen staff are provided with training and we stress the importance of the processes we have in place and the potential danger to customers with allergies of eating ingredients that may make them ill.
This training, menu and recipe development, and our processes and procedures to ensure we can provide a safe environment as well as tasty food, is one the reasons we decline customers requests to cook special dishes that are not on our menu or to bring food such as cakes to our restaurants.
There is a separate service policy for dealing with customers with allergies. This includes sending an email to a customer prior to dining explaining how we deal with allergens, if they mention when booking that they have an allergy.
At our restaurants, guests are requested to advise their server of any allergies and to use our allergen menu from which to make their choice. When the order is taken via the electronic order handhelds at the till, a flag is put against the dish to warn the kitchen of the customer’s allergy and the relevant allergen(s). At Jersey Crab Shack where orders can be made via an app, at the end of the list of menu items there is an allergy section where you can flag any of the 14 allergens so the same process is followed. We just ask at Jersey Crab Shack that orders via app are made separately for the person suffering from a severe allergy.
The kitchen will then take all reasonable precautions to avoid cross contamination, as well as putting a blue allergen flag on the dish so servers and customers know that the kitchen has received the message. This blue flag gives customers the confidence that their allergy has been understood by the kitchen, and provides reassurance that every reasonable step has been taken to make sure that the dish has not been contaminated by the relevant ingredient(s). It’s important that customers with allergies make sure they mention this to our team, so that we can ensure the above process is followed.
We ask that customers with severe food allergies do not request any alterations and modifications, and instead choose a complete dish off our allergy menu, ensuring it does not contain the relevant allergen. This advice is part of our strict policy, and whilst there is always the possibility of cross-contamination, it means that the risk of potential communication errors leading to contamination is further reduced.
If a customer is allergic to an allergen that is not listed on the 14 key allergens tracked on the menu, we cannot follow the same approach. There are risks from allergens contained in bought-in ingredients that are made from several ingredients, and we cannot follow the same level of process around handling of non-key allergens. We therefore strongly recommend a customer with a life-threatening allergy who is severely allergic to ingredients that are not one of the 14 key allergens assesses the risk before dining with us. We understand they may decide not to dine with us.
Ultimately, customers with food allergies understand that no restaurant or food supplier can offer a 100% guarantee that they will never unknowingly serve an ingredient that is not disclosed, that cross-contamination is possible or human error can occur, but at JPRestaurants we invest considerable resources to ensure customers can be confident when they dine with us, and that they have the information to enable them to make the choice whether to dine with us or choose a particular dish. Those with severe food allergies always travel with their medication including Adrenalin auto-injectors and anti-histamine close at hand and it’s important we encourage customers to check with their JPRestaurants server and look at the allergen menu each time they visit us, as ingredients can change.
We encourage customer feedback on this policy and have discussed the contents with medical professionals.
Further information on food allergies and intolerances can be found on the Allergy UK Website.
Our Allergen Menus
Our allergen menus are available online or at our restaurants when you dine. We recommend that those with allergies always check the allergen menu before ordering, even if they have dined with us before. We may sometimes need to use ingredients from different suppliers, or suppliers may change their manufacturing or distribution processes. This may mean that allergen information has changed since your last visit.