AN MSP says not enough is being done to increase awareness of food allergies in schools.

Maurice Golden has highlighted “a lack of awareness classes given by East Renfrewshire Council across the region”.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP says research has shown that in the past three years, no staff courses on food allergies were revealed to have been delivered for staff, the public, businesses or schools.

He said those working in schools in particular need to be aware of how to deal with food allergies and he has called on the council to run a dedicated course as soon as possible.

However, the council has responded by saying all its catering staff are required to complete Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland food hygiene training and allergies are covered within this.

It said any staff member who produces meals is provided with in-house allergy training. 

A council spokesperson said: “Additionally, all relevant staff in early learning establishments and schools undertake elementary food hygiene training which includes allergens. 

“We were also the first local authority within the UK to achieve Coeliac UK Accreditation. 

“We have a medical prescribed diet policy and when we are notified of a child or young person requiring a special diet, we will meet with parents or guardians to discuss their requirements to ensure a lunch option is available every day and risks of cross-contamination are eradicated.”

Mr Golden welcomed the council’s public reassurance on food hygiene and allergy training.

However, he added: “I am disappointed to see that East Renfrewshire Council have not run any dedicated food allergy awareness courses in recent years as there is a clear benefit to raising awareness.

“It appears as though East Renfrewshire Council, even if they have not run a direct awareness course, have taken a number of positive measures to ensure staff are trained to deal with allergies and I would encourage them to continue this work.”

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