Food allergy is caused when the body mistakenly makes an antibody to fight off a specific food. The next time that food is eaten it triggers an immune system response which results in the release of histamine and other substances in the body which can cause various symptoms. Allergies to foods are probably the most frightening forms of allergic reaction, with symptoms ranging from very mild to the severest form, anaphylaxis.
Food safety legislation requires that food businesses must not ‘sell to the purchaser’s prejudice any food which is not of the nature, substance and quality demanded by the purchaser’. Therefore if a customer requests a meal that doesn’t contain a particular food and the food business operator gives them a meal that does contain it, then this could lead to prosecution. Legislation also prohibits ‘unsafe’ food being placed on the market. A dish is deemed ‘unsafe’ if it contains an ingredient that a predisposed person is allergic to, even though it is safe for most other people.