A recent article in ‘Food Manufacture’ reported on an investigation by Torfaen County Borough Council Trading Standards (https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2020/10/02/Vending-machine-allergen-risk-highlighted-by-trading-standards). They visited ten outlets where ‘vending machines’ drinks were dispensed and tested. Particularly black tea and black coffee. They “found serious failings in the provision of allergen information and also found cross contamination of milk products that did not contain milk as an intended ingredient”.

The Trading Standards report can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b7m2ug6_jV1s4iXKQP1hpOJzIBtCpapP/view.

What is apparent is that these machines are table-top machines operated in catering outlets in cafés, supermarkets and other ‘on-the-go’ outlets. Not traditional vending machines in sites run by Vending Operators.

The AVA has responded to this article:

Members of the AVA are an important part of the food service industry and have strict regulations and standards around allergen labelling. The AVA was involved in the preparation of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation on behalf of our members and we continue to work hard with them to ensure they are compliant with these regulations.

For AVA members, appropriate labelling on machines is part of their annual quality audit. The issue of allergen labelling is one we take extremely seriously. We will take this opportunity to once again remind our members of the need to provide current and comprehensive allergen information to consumers to ensure they make safe choices.

If you are approached by Local Authorities or Local Press, please use this statement.

Although AVA members comply with the required labelling regulations, this does emphasise the need to ensure that regular checks are maintained and communicated to clients and consumers. In addition to regular cleaning and maintenance of equipment.

As always – more detail can be found in the Advice Hub in the members area of the AVA Website: