Edinburgh-based allergy tech firm to help solve food label issue

A FOOD tech company has created a system that can help solve the dangerous allergy dilemma for cafes and restaurants with a few simple clicks of a button.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 7:25 pm
The tech start-up says one of the reasons it developed its software was to help restaurants and takeaways to cope with the onerous task of tracking and labelling dishes and ingredients for allergy sufferers.

Edinburgh-based tech start-up ePOS Hybrid said the difficulty and cost of tracking and labelling dishes and ingredients for allergy sufferers prevents many food outlets doing it.

That issue was thrust into the national spotlight following the tragic death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse after she ate a sandwich from Pret a Manger which did not list its ingredients.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have now recommended to Scottish Ministers that improved allergen information be detailed on foods such as sandwiches and salads that will be sold in Scotland.

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The move follows the recommendations of the coroner’s report following Natasha’s death and a high-profile inquest that called into question the lack of proper labelling.

ePOS Hybrid’s founder Bhas Kalangi has also welcomed the tough new recommendations from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which has urged UK Government ministers to adopt strict new rules highlighting the 14 major allergens.

Mr Kalangi said: “The FSA is absolutely right to highlight the problems that allergen labelling poses for food businesses.

“The time, cost and difficulty of tracking and listing allergens during food preparation was one of the main issues that came up repeatedly when I was carrying out my own research of restaurants and takeaways.

“As a result, businesses are repeatedly failing to do this. For most of them it is simply too complex a problem to track and keep on top of.

“However, our technology provides the manager of a hospitality business with the option to list and update allergen information for all food items with a few simple clicks of a button.”

The ePOS Hybrid software platform can automate every aspect of a venue’s operation – from stock management to staff training and rotas.

Once implemented, it’s simple to update allergy information across menus, websites and ordering systems at the click of a button. It also ensures all staff have easy access to the information whether in the kitchen, on the floor or in the delivery chain.

Mr Kalangi added: “It is very quick and easy to add allergen information to our system and update it as menus develop.

“The information is copied across every outlet and on websites, tablets, digital menus, checkouts and any digital app. Staff have the information easily to hand, while customers can choose dishes with confidence – and crucially the businesses are legally compliant.”

The FSS will now send their recommendations to Scottish Minister. Chairman Ross Finnie, said: “FSS’ primary concern is consumer protection - making sure that food is safe to eat for all consumers. There are particular challenges for people with food allergies who have to be able to access the information they need to make the right choices.”