Some of London's top chefs and restaurateurs have spoken out against EU regulations that are being branded a "bureaucratic nightmare".
Legendary chefs Albert Roux and Prue Leith are just two of 100 who put their names to a letter, organised by the eurosceptic group Business for Britain (BfB), opposing the EU's Food Information for Consumers Regulation.
The rules, which came into force in December last year, forces caterers to conduct a comprehensive audit of all their ingredients and then display them on menus and packaging.
Commenting on the regulations, Prue Leith said:
These new rules on the labelling of allergens are a bureaucratic nightmare that will inflict significant damage on the catering industry, particularly on smaller business – which must be assessed before any more damage is done."
She was joined by Thomasina Miers, Co-founder of Wahaca restaurants, who said:
It is a total fiasco and in my view is the responsibility of the allergee to ask, no the restaurateurs to list. I had a severe allergy for six years so coming at it from both sides of the fence.
If the restaurateurs fail to display information on 14 allergens, they could be fined up to £5,000. BfB said it was drawing focus to the regulation because it restricts consumer choice and puts an unnecessary burden on industry.
"This is a costly overreaction from Brussels using a regulatory sledgehammer to crack a nut", said BfB's chief executive Matthew Elliot. BfB is backing a substantial renegotiation of the UK’s place in Europe, followed by an in-out referendum.