Hospitality leaders have called for an industry-wide approach to product labelling to meet new legislation.
Food Service Director Group (FSDG) members including Unilever, Brakes, Whitbread and Mitchells & Butlers are proposing the industry adopt a common approach to product information.
At the end of 2014, new legislation will be introduced by the FSA that will require food businesses to provide allergy information on food sold unpackaged - in, for example catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars.
There will also be changes to existing legislation on labelling allergenic ingredients in pre-packed foods.
FSDG, a strategic group within supply chain standards organisation GS1 UK, will drive the campaign for a collaborative approach to product information distribution.
In a new report, The Food Service Information Challenge, the group said it wanted a common approach to product traceability so that information between food manufacturers, operators and suppliers can be managed and shared more easily.
The report, compiled by GS1 UK, said it was essential for the quality and consistency of product information to be communicated through all levels of the supply chain.
FSDG members now want all operators and suppliers to work together to establish a standard tracking system similar to that employed by the retail supply chain.
Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK, warned that without a common standard the food service industry ran the risk of failing to cope with the growing information requirements demanded by legislation and consumers.
He added: "Organisations can face potential serious consequences and loss of brand integrity if a consumer is harmed as a result as a result of inaccurate product information."
Dennis Deare, director of food trading at Mitchells & Butlers, said: "We want to give our guests the information they are demanding and a standard approach ensures we all have access to correct and complete information, improving customer experience and saving significant time and money through the avoidance of errors."
Tracey Rogers, managing director, Unilever Food Solutions, added: "As an industry we have an opportunity to work together and make a commitment to take action and reduce food waste and adhere to legislation.
"Ultimately, we are all driven by the customer and they will vote with their feet if we do not give them the information they are looking for."
For more information on the FSDG group, please contact Andrew Stinchcombe-Gillies, head of industry development, food service, on email@example.com.
To download a copy of the report, please go to www.gs1uk.org.
By Lisa Jenkins
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