Food and drink is big business for golf clubs, but with this comes a need to be fully compliant with food and safety legislation and the topic of the winter - allergens.

Whether you offer a la carte dining or snacks, or perhaps food delights from a pizza oven or seasonal barbecues, there are 14 things that could handicap you – the 14 major food allergens governed by EU law.

What are the 14 allergens?

One of the 14 – sesame seeds – has made huge headlines lately, following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a Pret à Manger sandwich containing this allergen

The tragedy has heightened awareness of one of the 14 allergens that golf club caterers need to control, but there are 13 more that could catch you out:

• Cereals

• Crustaceans

• Eggs

• Fish

• Peanuts

• Soybeans

• Milk (including lactose)

• Nuts

• Celery (including celeriac)

• Mustard

• Sulphur dioxide (sulphates) if more than 10 milligrams per kilogram or 10 milligrams per litre in the finished product

• Lupin (including lupin seeds and flour)

• Molluscs

Allergens and Golf Club Catering

It is likely many golf clubs have not analysed recipes to assess which may contain one or more of these allergens. It’s common to find recipe tinkering and sometime a lack of awareness amongst kitchen staff when it comes to allergen control.

To help you ponder this, Consultant on the Course has four key questions for you:

1) How confident are you that every dish on your buffet table is labelled up correctly, to comply with the law?

2) How certain are you that the curry, stew, bake or cake that your chef is cooking up for corporates hasn’t had an ingredient substituted at the last minute, because something has run out in the kitchen?

3) What systems do you have to avoid allergen cross-contamination – in the kitchen, on the buffet table, on the barbecue and in the snack bar?

4) What controls over your outside caterers and their allergen strategies have you put in place?

How to prevent holes in your risk management

We have recently published our ‘Changing Face of Golf’ white paper to help golf clubs manage all of their new-age risks and you can download this here

In the meantime, to tighten up on your allergen control:

• Consider e-learning that can assist your compliance

• Work with us, as experts in all aspects of golf club health and safety compliance.

• Conduct your own audit of all your menus and procedures

• Ask us about a resource that can analyse all of your menus for you

• Ask us about the procedures we could put in place, to demonstrate you have made every effort to manage your allergen risk

With all the heightened awareness of allergens at present, there can be no excuse not to act on allergens and get your kitchen in order.

Call 0113 244 8686 to get the ball rolling today.