Risk assessment for non-prepacked food-stuffs and catering

The risk assessment for non-prepacked food should generally consider the same factors for prepacked (section 4). For catering and in-store production there needs to be specific considerations for the kitchen and preparation environment and staff communication. Foods provided in a non-prepacked format will require effective communication practices between the staff (preparation and sales or front and back of house) and customers.

If in doubt these products should not make a “free-from” claim or any claim consumers would understand as “free-from”.



Special attention needs to be given to the following activities:

The scope of the risk assessment should consider the following factors for prepacked foods:

  1. Catering environment
    1. Are there segregated areas in the kitchen/preparation environment or scheduled production times where allergens can be controlled or absent?
    2. Can key equipment be segregated or made bespoke for making allergen-free recipes (e.g. colour coding)?
    3. Consider separate equipment such as mixers or toasters.
    4. Consider storage environment of ingredients and finished dishes.
    5. Is there an effective cleaning regime in place that is validated and verified to consistently remove the specified allergen?
    6. Consider change of work clothing and hygiene practices.
  2. Ingredients
    1. Have you considered the allergen status of all ingredients in your recipe?
    2. Ingredient suppliers may only tell you what allergens are in a product. Note this is NOT the same as an ingredient being “free-from” a specific allergen. “Free-from” status needs to be assured by you or your supplier.
    3. Ideally, select products which are already manufactured to meet “free-from” criteria.
  3. Staff training
    1. Have all staff had suitable allergen training and do they understand the importance of cross contamination controls and their relevance to allergenic consumers?
    2. Do you have a member of staff with sufficient knowledge to validate and audit the controls?
    3. Is there effective communication between the customer and relevant staff?

For more information about claiming gluten-free in a catering environment see Coeliac UK accreditation and training resources.


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Last reviewed: 12 Nov 2015