Terms of hire and use – Food description and contents
Summary: No special duty applies to provide any food such as vegan or dairy free unless agreed at the time of hire with the Club. The duty to provide information on allergens only relates to 14 specified ones and the duty is on consumers to check the food before consumption by asking, preferably well in advance. In cases of possible contents the consumer needs to decide the risk to themselves. There is no obligation in law to keep other information such as other ingredients unless the food was provided prepacked and it was packed before it was first ordered by the event organiser.
Terms of hire in relation to food provision.
Hire and use of the Jockey Club for events or just food provision is subject to food safety laws. These legal provisions are basic protections and contrary to popular belief are extremely limited.
In relation to foods, which some people are allergic or intolerant, UK law is limited in catering with emphasis primarily and rightly placed on consumers to check as to the ingredients. The consumer has a right to the information only relating to 14 allergens where they ask. Their content in a food must be identified where a consumer asks for information. In cases where it may inadvertently be in the food, probably because the allergen is handled in the same kitchen where the product is prepared, the caterer would provide the best information they can about its content but “cannot confirm its absence as it is made in a kitchen where such products are also handled”. The presumption must be it is present as the only safe conclusion where a consumer is at serious risk of illness.
Unless foods are prepacked before individuals buy them, which is not the case for booked events where the food is ordered in advance of the event, then all the caterer is obliged to provide is information on the 14 allergens when asked during or prior to the event. Responses can include, where accurate, “we cannot confirm its absence as it is made in a kitchen where such products are also handled“. Naturally the Jockey Club will try to help consumers as much as possible but the requirements in law are limited.
No duty to avoid allergens.
It is important to recognise there is not any duty in law to provide foods free of allergens or any particular products unless this is made part of any contract such as booking an event in advance for a vegan or non-milk only menu. Such requirements cannot be demanded in law and any caterer has absolute discretion as to what they supply provided the hirer is not misled and information on the 14 allergens is given when asked for.
In terms of allergens, there are many and varied foods that can cause adverse reactions including anaphylactic shock which are not covered in the list of 14 to which the law relates. This includes onions / garlic, kiwi, tomato, peppers and oranges. The Jockey Club staff will be helpful wherever they can but are not required to record information other than the 14 allergens.
Labelling of foods that are prepacked before sale is a different matter but only when the foods are packed before they are sold. Ordering the range of foods that are to be provided on a menu is the point of sale in most cases. In most cases this arises when the event is booked. Individual consumers can ask about the presence of any of the 14 allergens identified in legislation in any food item at any time and the Jockey Club will provide information to help the consumer as best they can but there is not any duty to label that food. If hirers want foods labelled with allergens this would have to be agreed at the time of booking.
Terms of disclaimer.
This disclaimer as to the limitations on responsibility is provided at the point of hire to avoid later misunderstanding of the duty on the Jockey Club. There is no duty to provide foods free of allergens unless this is an agreed part of any contract of hire. Consumer needs will be met where possible but those attending are responsible for checking foods are safe for them to consume with the rare exception where those foods are prepacked before the point of sale. This would be an exceptional situation.
The key point in law is that at the point a contract of hire is agreed and foods for service at an event are determined, that is the point of sale. If the range of foods to be provided are not determined until the event occurs then the point of ordering a food item is the point of sale.
Hirers organising events need to make those attending aware they need to ask and find out about food contents if they are likely to suffer from any allergic or intolerant response. Unless certain foods are agreed to be provided at the time of any booking they cannot be guaranteed. Anyone with any unusual allergy (not on the list of 14) should find out well in advance of the event if the foods contain any allergen than the 14 specified in regulations as there is no duty to keep such information.
The Jockey Club Rooms cannot take any responsibility for either anyone’s personal intolerances, allergies or food choices / desires and it is for any individual to seek information as to the 14 identified allergens before consuming any food prepared at the Jockey Club Rooms and for them to assess the risk to themself. Only they can know the extent of risk of adverse outcomes they face from consuming or possibly touching a food they are allergic to. Further, hirers should inform their guests that anyone with serious allergies likely or possibly leading to anaphylactic shock should make this known before attending the Jockey Club Rooms and ensure they carry suitable medication along with being accompanied by those trained in its application.
The provision of vegan food or those with particular ingredients not classified in food safety regulations as identifiable allergens are not considerations for which any legal duty falls as to identifying ingredients placed on the operators, except in any contract where such foods and their supply in a particular way or quantity were specifically agreed in the written contract.