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More to be done on food allergies

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With daughter Daisy: Emma Howells, Pembroke allergy support group founder

With daughter Daisy: Emma Howells, Pembroke allergy support group founder

PEMBROKESHIRE food businesses are being urged to make sure they are following new rules around allergen labelling.

Research by the Food Standards Agency and Allergy UK has found that despite improvements, one in four people with a food allergy has suffered a reaction while eating out in a restaurant or cafe since new allergen labelling legislation came in a year ago.

The survey also found that nearly one in five (19%) of those allergic reactions resulted in a hospital visit.

The EU Food Information for Consumers (FIC) legislation came into force in December 2014, and means that Pembrokeshire food businesses have to make information on 14 allergens available to consumers. This ranges from the most common allergens, such as peanuts and gluten, to less well known triggers for allergic reactions such as mustard and celery. Around 2 million people in the UK suffer from allergies, including 2% of adults and 8% of children.

The survey, which was carried out to mark Allergy Awareness Week 2016, found that overall, 83% of respondents have noticed an increase in measures designed to make life easier for allergic consumers – including menus marking out allergens, and staff actively checking food information with the kitchen.

More than half (58%) of allergic consumers said that their overall experience of eating out has improved; just 6% said it has got worse. As a result, a similar proportion (52%) say they now feel more confident eating out than they did before the legislation was introduced.

However, people with allergies still report a number of problems when eating out. More than two-thirds (69%) have experienced staff not understanding the severity of an allergy, and how easily a mistake can cause a reaction.

A similar number (68%) have seen staff with a lack of knowledge of what’s on the menu or in the food – including staff confusing eggs with dairy, or assuming that the customer was asking for gluten-free rather than avoiding lupin (a grain commonly used in place of wheat). Over half of allergic consumers (56%) said they have been made to feel like an inconvenience due to their allergy.

In total, around a third of those with a food allergy have suffered a reaction in the last year when eating out of the home.

The vast majority of these (25%) took place in a restaurant or cafe, with 9% being a result of takeaway food. In most cases (88%) the reaction was selftreated, with 19% of reactions resulting in a hospital visit.

Emma da Gama Howells (37) set up the Pembroke allergy support group to help local people affected by severe allergies and anaphylaxis. Her daughter Daisy (12) is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Emma commented:

“It’s rare that we eat out at any restaurants and if we do, we always double check to make sure that dishes are safe to eat.

“Almost everyone has a basic awareness of allergies, but I still find it hard to trust restaurants as a lot of staff still don’t fully understand how severe they can be and why it’s so important to provide accurate information.

“I hope that awareness will improve in the future and that if Daisy goes out to eat, people will be patient and treat her allergies seriously.”

Dr Chun-Han Chan, Food Allergy Expert at the FSA commented: “It’s been more than a year since the introduction of this legislation and we’re pleased to see real progress in how food businesses provide information on allergens to their customers. In general, the situation is improving for the two million food allergic consumers in the UK, and greater numbers have the confidence to eat out.

“However, our survey has found that this isn’t true for everyone, and that many establishments aren’t yet providing the information that their customers need.

The number of people suffering from food allergies and intolerances has increased in the last decade, so it’s clear that it is not something businesses can ignore. Allergies can be fatal, and this is why it is vital food businesses give their customers information they can trust.”

If anyone encounters a food business not providing information on the 14 allergens, they should report it to their local authority who will investigate. The survey showed that those affected are currently more likely to report it to staff in the first instance (69%) or complain on social media after the event (23%).

Food businesses have been given flexibility on how they provide allergy information. This can be communicated verbally through explanations by staff or signposted to where or how more information can be found on menus or in additional leaflets.

The next Pembroke allergy support group will be held on Tuesday June 14 2016 at 21C Foundry House, Orange Way, Pembroke SA71 4DR between 9.30am – 10.30am.

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Salvage Hunters: New series is filming in Pembrokeshire, and they need help

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SALVAGE HUNTERS, the well-loved and most watched Quest TV and Discovery Network show, is on the hunt for locations to film at in the Pembrokeshire and the wider South West Wales area to feature in the upcoming series.

We follow decorative antiques expert Drew Pritchard as he travels around various locations in the UK and abroad on his quest to find and buy unusual objects with an interesting history.

Drew really visits everywhere – beautiful estates, old family businesses, barns and attic’s stuffed full of unwanted things, museums, factories, collectors and iconic religious sites buying all sorts along the way – from gorgeous country house furniture and railwayana to 6ft 1980s disco balls and anything in-between.

Now in its sixteenth series and airing to over half a million people in the UK and millions more worldwide, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your business or home to a broad audience, sell a few items that perhaps you no longer need, make some money and celebrate the history and heritage of the UK.

If you think you fit the bill or know somebody that might then please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with a member of our team.

Call us on 0203 179 0092 or alternatively send us an email to – salvagehunters@curvemedia.com

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Fishguard and Goodwick Mural project turns to Crowdfunder to raise money

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PLANS to put up a few bright and decorative murals around the twin towns of Fishguard & Goodwick have turned to Crowdfunder to raise the money needed for their vision.

Andrew Harries, found of the Fishguard Future Projects, wants to place 12 murals around Fishguard and Goodwick “to help brighten up the town and showcase its culture and history”.

Andrew said: “Having been born and raised in Fishguard, I have seen the town’s highs and lows.

“Fishguard and Goodwick has a lot of potential with the tourism trade growing every year and the popular events such as the Music Festivals, The New Years Eve Street Party, The Carnival, The Soapbox Derby and many more helping attract even more visitors.”

The murals, which were initially turned down for funding when a grant application was refused, will focus on the two towns “interesting but lesser known history” that Andrew feels needs to be highlighted.

Andrew told The Herald: “Each design will be 8 x 6ft and mounted professionally on buildings around the area. Having spoken to a few business owners around the town, this project has received a lot of positive feedback.”

“The murals will unfortunately need to be fully funded via Crowdfunder, after a grant application was turned down.

“I have explored the option of having them traditionally painted on, but this would be more cost effective and would need to be maintained every 5 – 8 years. With this in mind, the designs will be created digitally and then professionally mounted on aluminium composite.”

If you want to help, you can find the link to Andrew’s Crowdfunder here.

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Drive for new recruits as Army Cadets re-open

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DYFED AND GLAMORGAN ARMY CADET FORCE are now able to accept new joiners aged 12 (and in Year 8 at School) to 17 years old.

Joining the Army Cadets will give access to a wide range of exciting activities, from adventurous training (AT) such as kayaking, mountain biking and abseiling and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to military-themed activities including shooting, fieldcraft and skill at arms, as well as training in first aid, young adults get the chance to discover lots of new experiences and make new friends.  

There is no obligation to join the Forces at all, but they can give some guidance if you are interested.  

There are no subscription charges, uniform is issued free on a loan basis; the only thing you need to supply yourselves is Boots.  

The Cadet Force are also looking for adult volunteers, both uniformed and non-uniformed to assist as well.

They have Detachments located in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Narberth, Tenby, Milford Haven, Neyland, Pembroke Dock, Tenby, St Clears, Llanelli, Trimsarren and Burry Port.

Most Detachments parade twice a week in the evenings 1900 – 2100hrs on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday (Depending on Location) and try to get away for a weekend every month as well as organising summer camps. 

Further Information is available at :- www.armycadets.com or call them on 01656 657593 (Option 1) to find out where your local detachment is and what nights they Parade.

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