Hampshire County Council Catering Services

30 years at HC3S

Take a trip though time and find out more about some of our longest-serving members of staff


When HC3S started thirty years ago food allergens were known about, but as the number of sufferers was very small there was almost no time or resources dedicated to the subject. 1990 onwards saw a massive rise both in the number of sufferers, and in the number of products that could cause an allergic reaction.

The provision of special diets for pupils was introduced in 1989. Controlled by the Food Development Team, we catered for four generic special diets, nut, dairy, wheat and gluten, and egg. By 2003, HC3S had employed a dietitian to assist with special diets.

In the primary sector we now issue up to 40 generic special diets, and over 500 bespoke special diets for pupils with allergies and intolerances.

In secondary schools it was decided that as the students were much older, and the choice of food was greater we would provide information, but not create special diets. This worked well until December 2013 when all food and beverage businesses legally had to provide allergy information on all food sold unpackaged.

A massive amount of work went on behind the scenes to ensure that our kitchens in secondary schools, country parks, business units and libraries were given the training, and the information they needed to provide safe food to all our customers.

Allergenaccreditation.co.uk were invited in to examine our policies, procedures and working practices. Our staff were required to demonstrate knowledge of all aspects of allergen Control, from the procurement and storage of foodstuffs, through preparation, cooking and service of the dishes, to the procedures to follow if an allergy customer suffers anaphylactic shock whilst on the premises.

We were delighted to be awarded Allergen Accreditation across the secondary and commercial sites. The award aims to provide peace of mind to allergy sufferers that allergens are taken seriously and that the staff have the knowledge to answer questions on the food we serve. With a regular allergen newsletter and periodic allergen procedure audits, we ensure that information is kept fresh and up to date.

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