In Britain, food allergies have risen drastically in the past 20 years, with around 2 million people now affected. Last December, the European Union introduced strict legislation requiring businesses to provide clear labelling of any traces of the 14 food allergens that are on the regulatory list, or risk a £5,000 fine.

Around 5,000 people require hospital treatment each year in Britain due to food allergies, and yet the new legislation has not been widely welcomed. More than 100 top chefs have hit back against the rules, claiming that they are stifling creativity in the kitchen and having a damaging impact on the catering industry across Britain. For many small businesses, the requirement to provide up-to-date allergy information can be incredibly time consuming, particularly when working with seasonal produce that requires a regular change of menu.

FoodTrade, an online map and marketplace for real food, has come up with a brilliant solution. Restaurant and catering chefs will simply need to enter their dishes on the FoodTrade Menu and the clever ingredient feature will automatically label the allergens and create a clear, customer-ready menu.

The new site stores thousands of pre-listed ingredients and allergens, so it’s easy to make even the most complex menus compliant in minutes. During 2015 FoodTrade will also be adding more features such as food origin and food miles, ensuring that businesses can meet the demands of any forthcoming food laws.

FoodTrade has no complicated allergen chart, no lengthy researching and no hefty fees. Just a quick, easy and affordable solution to create, save and update menus every day.

Ed Dowding, founder and CEO of FoodTrade, said:

“When you’re a small business, it’s hard to balance these regulations whilst running a successful café, keeping costs down and creating delicious, planet-friendly food. Businesses can use the search tools to find new products and suppliers, and to buy or sell food in the online marketplace. And if the Environmental Health Officer walks in? You’ve got 100% confidence that your menu is compliant.”

Not only will the information be used for the purpose of helping businesses comply with legislation: FoodTrade will also input the data into their online food map. This means that by using FoodTrade Menu, businesses can ensure that they are adhering to food laws while simultaneously improving their supply chain. Restaurants, cafés and caterers can publicly list their suppliers, create provenance maps and search for better, more local ingredients.

The Institute of Food Safety, Integrity and Protection and the Food Standards Agency have both voiced their support for FoodTrade Menu. The tool has also been endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, who are responsible for training Environmental Health Officers, to help you avoid the £5,000 fine. Sign up now to start your free trial.

Photograph: Elisabet

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