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Allergy awareness for event organizers

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

allergyAllergen stories are becoming more frequent in the news, including a recent example where an Indian restaurant failed to take note of allergens and unfortunately a young girl lost her life. A recent survey conducted by 30 Euston Square, has revealed the need for more information to be gathered by organisers ahead of their events. Their results reveal that of 131 organizers surveyed, only 16.3% of specifically asked for details of potentially life threatening allergies.

“Our research shows that 84% of organisers need to be more specific with the information they gather from attendees. It demonstrates that the industry is not responding to the dangers of allergens and is putting delegates at risk,” comments Yvette Chatwin, General Manager of 30 Euston Square. “In addition, venues and caterers prepare food based on the information they are provided. At 30 Euston Square we make every effort to respond to delegate needs and highlight the allergens in each of our dishes, however we must have the right information from the beginning.”

Despite already having robust allergen processes in place, 30 Euston Square has improved processes around the collection of allergy information, requiring organisers to gather in depth information on 14 allergies ahead of an event, ensuring no last-minute requests.

The research conducted by 30 Euston Square supports the need for allergens to be taken seriously. Delegates need to be asked clear questions on their allergens to help venues, like 30 Euston Square, minimise the risks.

•         Of 46 delegates who also completed the survey, when asked in an open question “do you have any dietary requirements” only 4% of respondents specifically detailed allergies.

•         When asked subsequently to detail whether they are allergic to the 14 allergens identified by government legislation 13.62% of the same delegates detailed specific allergens.

The difference in the two above statistics clearly demonstrates that open questions do not provide specific enough answers and highlights that a greater understanding of the allergens legislation is required across the meetings industry.

Yvette concludes: “Beyond allergens there are also a number of food preferences which all need to be examined thoroughly if we are to truly deliver great hospitality to our guests.   These results demonstrate that simply asking do you have any dietary requirements isn’t enough.   Ultimately, safety and quality depend on effective communication between the venue management, kitchen staff, event planners and the guests themselves.”

30 Euston Square, home of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), is a conference, meetings and events venue in the heart of London. Conveniently situated next to a major transport hub, 30 Euston Square is an ideal venue for both domestic and international delegates travelling to London for business.

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