Client ID Number: AA/00000274
In their own words...from Tammy Harwood, catering manager.
When it was first announced that Swanmore College was taking the catering in house, the thing I was most apprehensive about was allergens. I did think I knew quite a bit and all would be fine, in hindsight that was naïve too say the least.
The company I worked for before had given me all the allergen information I had needed, but now it would be down to me.
My first lesson only trust the labels on the products as other information can be very conflicting.
After a lot of hard work making sure the matrices, recipes and the full allergen cycle was in place, I realised manufacturers can change their recipes and allergens and so that's when the daily allergen check was introduced. If we are doing a daily special the daily matrices are dated and kept for a period of time for due diligence purposes.
Before we went in house; anything stored or opened just had the date put on it, now full allergen labels are used, and my lovely team are fully trained on how to do this and use the allergen folders, sealed boxes and special equipment.
I think for me the most important thing was the support shown to me and my team by the College.
Firstly, by putting an all College food allergy policy in place, they have made allergy awareness a whole college policy. No food is brought in from outside the kitchen and sold for example for a charity event unless the allergens are clearly labelled and wrapped to stop cross contamination and that we are nut free. We can’t or never will be able to control what food items pupils bring in, but anything purchased on site we can and do. They have also joined the Anaphylaxis Campaign, who have a wealth of resources including the Allergy Wise training for school staff.
The absolute best thing that they did was listen when I said I need my work audited as allergens are the scariest part of my job, they agreed readily and I knew it was you, (Allergen Accreditation) it would be a firm fair and informative audit and it was and I learnt a lot from it and it has given me more confidence, especially as it was a good one.
Then the big one came in the form of two EHO's one was inspecting the other one inspecting Swanmore College as a new business. We got a 5 rating and we were told it was one of best allergen systems that they had seen and we were ahead of the game, that's when you got the sobbing phone call as I honestly feel you have been such a big part of our allergen story so far and will be in the future!!
THANK you Tammy and Swanmore College!
The school is well underway with PPDS developments and continuing with on going learning and compliance setting for its outstanding school meals service and allergen standards.