Schoolboy having lunch in school canteen

According to Allergy UK, 40% of children in the UK have been diagnosed with an allergy, with the four most common being food allergy, eczema, asthma and hay fever. These allergies can seriously affect their health, wellbeing, education, and social activities and the impact on the child can range from mild to life threatening symptoms.

In some cases severe food allergies can cause Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), so, it is vital for schools and education settings to be aware of children with dietary requirements and be able to recognise signs of an allergic reaction whilst in their care.

Here’s how EF-group can protect your students and your business:

Food allergen management procedures within schools are very carefully managed to ensure the safety of all pupils and under section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, schools have a duty to support pupils at their school with any medical conditions. All food businesses, including school caterers must show the allergen ingredients information for the food they serve, and from October 2021, the Food Information Regulations included new requirements for the labelling of allergens on PPDS (pre-packed for direct sale) foods.

Our powerful CaterCloud menu management solution protects students and our clients in education by managing allergens, nutritional information, costs, and labelling. Kitchen staff and chefs in schools will be aware of specific dietary needs when preparing hot meals for children in their care. However, PPDS (pre-packed for direct sale) items need to be clearly labelled with all allergens in line with Natasha’s Law. This includes pre-prepared ‘help yourself’ items such as sandwiches and fruit pots, which are particularly popular in secondary schools. Ensuring you have compliant labelling for these items is a necessity to protect the students in your care, as well as your business.

Our CaterCloud system generates compliant labels from the recipes you create, detailing all ingredients with allergens labelled in bold. Labels can be printed on your home or office printer, and our easy-to-use system is also linked with our partners Planglow and Daymark, who offer alternative label options.

Alongside compliant labelling and full menu management, CaterClouds recipe creation tool will automatically calculate nutrition on a per serving or per 100g basis. This feature, built specifically for the education sector, ensures schools are following the strict healthy eating standards outlined by the government and gives the required information to ensure that minimum and maximum levels of key nutrients (which varies between different age groups) is adhered to. This ensures students are getting the necessary nutrition to enjoy a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

We understand that it’s not just legislation that schools contend with, tight budgets place restraints on what meals school caterers can create and that’s why CaterCloud is also designed to help schools manage their costs. Our budget control features work by calculating recipe costs, allowing kitchen staff and chefs to plan and design menus with cost per portion in mind – all whilst adhering to specific dietary and nutritional requirements.

We work closely with several education clients and support them to meet both their purchasing and menu management needs. Enquire Learning Trust, Oxfordshire County Council and Red Kite Learning Trust are just a few of our current education clients, and by releasing new features and system functionality designed to support these settings we continue to grow our business and expertise in this sector.

As an added service, we offer full allergen training to school, college and university kitchen staff, and also partner with LACA, Anaphylaxis UK, Allergen Accreditation and ISBA to ensure we have the very best additional expertise and resources available.

To find out more about how we can protect your students and business whilst keeping you focussed on fuelling young minds, please visit our website or contact Steve Walker on 07837 212719.