Food and Drink

Food safety complaints double over Christmas, research finds

Complaints of food poisoning, allergic reactions and foreign bodies found in food increase by more than half during the festive season according to food safety specialist, Food Alert.

The company revealed that the number of food complaints they were asked to investigate during December last year showed a 55% increase compared to those handled during an average month. Incidents of alleged food poisoning was the most common complaint (79%), followed by reports of foreign bodies (13%) and allergic reactions (8%).

The two most common foods complained about over the festive period was calamari and chicken liver parfait.

David Bashford, managing director – Food Alert, said: “While Christmas is a critically important trading opportunity for operators it can also pose a risk from a food safety perspective. Maintaining standards during the Christmas rush is difficult and all it takes is one minor mistake and the consequences can be enormous.”

Food alert said the increase could be put down to venues typically being busier and – with an influx of temporary staff and more bulk cooking of menu items – the possibility of policies and procedures not being followed can be higher.

Bashford added: “How operators deal with issues and complaints is vital to keeping reputations intact and having watertight processes, training and supporting evidence trails in place are all absolutely crucial – communication really is key.

“Identifying high-risk food processes and ingredients and formally conveying them to all employees, including temporary staff, is just one step that will help mitigate the number of incidents to ensure the lucrative festive period is a Christmas cracker for everyone.”

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