Mother unable to eat out with family urges restaurants to follow new allergy food labelling rules

Natalie Fleet and her daughter Lottie Credit: Natalie Fleet

A mother has urged restaurants to quickly follow new rules about allergylabelling for food, revealing her family has been unable to eat out for a yearbecause of her daughter's severe reactions.

Natalie Fleet, 30, said one-year-old Lottie's sensitivity to milk and soyaoften leaves her in extreme pain and suffering sickness and swelling of her head and means she cannot risk taking her and her siblings out for dinner.

Natalie Fleet has been unable to eat out with her family for a year Credit: PA

A change in the law comes into effect today requiring restaurants and takeaways to tell customers if any of the top 14 allergen ingredients are in the foods they serve.

The mother-of-four from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire told how they had stopped eating out or having take-aways because they often could not be sure what was going to be in the food, with staff often being unable to help.

Lottie is sensitive to milk and soya which leaves her in extreme pain Credit: Natalie Fleet

According to research from the Food Standards Agency and Allergy UK shows that 53% of allergy sufferers avoid eating out through fear of having a reaction and not trusting the information they are given. Some 70% avoid takeaways for the same reason.

Under the new rules restaurants and takeaways will have to inform theircustomers about 14 specific allergens, ranging from nuts and milk, to lesswidely recognised allergens including mustard and lupin seeds, which are often used in flour.

Around two million people in the UK suffer from allergies including 2% ofadults and 8% of children. On average 10 people die and around 5,000 arehospitalised per year due to allergic reactions, the FSA said, with the majority of avoidable cases caused by incorrect information about ingredients in food.

Restaurants and takeaways will have to inform their customers about 14 specific allergens Credit: PA

The rules allow businesses some flexibility in how they provide information,ranging from menus and leaflets to verbal explanations from staff.

The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulations will also change the way allergy information appears on labelling for pre-packed foods bought in shops and supermarkets.