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Food on Your Menu

If you make a dish from scratch, you will know what goes into it. But remember that you will need to think about each of the ingredients you use and what they contain. You also need to consider what you use:

It's very important to check the ingredients of anything you buy in ready-made, such as desserts, pies, bread, sausages and sauces. Don't rely on what you think is in these products, because foods that can cause severe allergic reactions can turn up in products where you might not expect them. For example:

Remember that if someone asks you whether a dish contains a certain food, you should never guess the answer. Always check the ingredients carefully and if you can't find out then say you don't know.

If a dish on your menu contains one of the foods that can cause severe allergic reactions, make sure you mention it in the name of the dish or the description on the menu, e.g. ‘strawberry mousse with almond shortbread’.  

If you use unrefined nut or seed oils (also called cold-pressed or crude) in cooking or in dressings, say this on the menu.

Don’t claim a dish is free from a particular food, unless you have taken steps to check this is correct. It’s a good idea to put a message on your menu, or on the wall, to let customers with food allergies know they can ask staff for advice about what dishes contain.

It’s not a good idea to use logos on your menu to show whether dishes contain certain foods, because ingredients can change.


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