Mince Pie Danger to be Assessed

#1
From the BBC:

Mince pie danger to be assessed

Organisers of a village Christmas party have been told they must carry out a risk assessment of their mince pies - or their festivities will be cancelled.

Council bosses say posters will have to be displayed at the party in Embsay, in the Yorkshire Dales, warning villagers the pies contain nuts and suet pastry.

The cocoa content and temperature of the hot chocolate must also be checked.

Resident Steve Dobson said the rules had made the small party as difficult to arrange as the Great Yorkshire Show.

Mr Dobson said he learned of the regulations after writing to Craven District Council to ask if he could use a car park outside Embsay village hall to hold the free party for the community.

He planned a fireworks display, mulled wine, Santa's grotto and free mince pies made by members of Embsay and Eastby Women's Institute.

"It is bureaucracy gone mad", Mr Dobson said.

"The council gave me a huge list of things we had to do. I wrote back, a little bit tongue in cheek, asking if I really had to risk assess free mince pies and a brass band, and they said yes.

"Everything we do, from putting tinsel up to providing refreshments has to be assessed. We have to consider the dangers involved, that someone might choke on their mince pie or have a nut allergy.

"I also understand that Santa may need a Criminal Records Bureau check.

"For a small Dales village we found it a bit of a joke really.

"It's gone from us hoping to use a bit of council property for a community party, to needing the same sort of planning we would have to put in for the Great Yorkshire Show."

Mr Dobson said it he was now considering moving the party to private land elsewhere in the village.

Craven Council's director of community services, Jonathan Kerr, said: "We support these community events and we try to help local communities organise them and make sure they are as safe as possible."
OK, I'm not usually the "PC-gone-mad" type (because I believe most things usually boil down to political economy) but this one has me utterly baffled. Especially the nut allergy thing.

Were people dropping dead left and right before the whole nut (and other food) allergy thing became the panic du jour, and I simply didn't notice? Did the peanut-farming lobby suppress the news of this scourge through campaign donations? How did we manage to survive centuries of Yuletide celebrations without testing the mince pies for nuts??
 
#2
It's in reality not so much PC as common sense in the present compensation culture. If you have not considered the risks properly and cannot show you have done all that is reasonable to mitigate these risks then if something does go wrong then it could be very expensive. The council's requirements are as much intended to protect the organisers as protect the council. In reality they are not that difficult and once done are easy to recycle for next years event.

Equally having a neice who does suffer from a nut allergy, it is something to be very carefull about, it is easy for you to be flippant but you don't have to carry with you 24/7 for the rest of your life.
 
#3
maxi_77 said:
It's in reality not so much PC as common sense in the present compensation culture. If you have not considered the risks properly and cannot show you have done all that is reasonable to mitigate these risks then if something does go wrong then it could be very expensive. The council's requirements are as much intended to protect the organisers as protect the council. In reality they are not that difficult and once done are easy to recycle for next years event.

Equally having a neice who does suffer from a nut allergy, it is something to be very carefull about, it is easy for you to be flippant but you don't have to carry with you 24/7 for the rest of your life.
Utter crap.

I work Offshore and have to write Risk Assesments for virtually all work tasks, these have to be written by some who has done a Risk Assesors course as in the event of an accident it can be produced in court. If I was this Gentleman I would write back to the council making the following point.

1) As no one involved is trained in Risk Assesment are they going to send someone qualified to do the assesment or pay for someone to do the assesors course.

2) You wish to see the Risk Assesments the Council has prepared for all its daily tasks and functions as a guide, ie Line Painting, Grass Cutting, Refuse Bin collections etc as I bet they havent got any !!

That should shut them up.

While I syampathise with your neices situation and agree that manafacturers/bakers/little old ladies baking Mince Pies for their local fete, should state whether a product contains nuts BUT it is the responsibility of the person who has the condition to ensure that it is safe to eat.

My sister has Crohns Disease which affects her liver and digestion but doesnt expect every food to be labelled as to how it affects her condition.
 
#4
Dr_Dorian said:
maxi_77 said:
It's in reality not so much PC as common sense in the present compensation culture. If you have not considered the risks properly and cannot show you have done all that is reasonable to mitigate these risks then if something does go wrong then it could be very expensive. The council's requirements are as much intended to protect the organisers as protect the council. In reality they are not that difficult and once done are easy to recycle for next years event.

Equally having a neice who does suffer from a nut allergy, it is something to be very carefull about, it is easy for you to be flippant but you don't have to carry with you 24/7 for the rest of your life.
Utter crap.

I work Offshore and have to write Risk Assesments for virtually all work tasks, these have to be written by some who has done a Risk Assesors course as in the event of an accident it can be produced in court. If I was this Gentleman I would write back to the council making the following point.

1) As no one involved is trained in Risk Assesment are they going to send someone qualified to do the assesment or pay for someone to do the assesors course.

2) You wish to see the Risk Assesments the Council has prepared for all its daily tasks and functions as a guide, ie Line Painting, Grass Cutting, Refuse Bin collections etc as I bet they havent got any !!

That should shut them up.

While I syampathise with your neices situation and agree that manafacturers/bakers/little old ladies baking Mince Pies for their local fete, should state whether a product contains nuts BUT it is the responsibility of the person who has the condition to ensure that it is safe to eat.

My sister has Crohns Disease which affects her liver and digestion but doesnt expect every food to be labelled as to how it affects her condition.
D_D - Spot on Fella!
 
#5
maxi_77 said:
Equally having a neice who does suffer from a nut allergy, it is something to be very carefull about, it is easy for you to be flippant but you don't have to carry with you 24/7 for the rest of your life.
OK, that's fair enough.

But I did a Google search for mincemeat recipes and out of the top twelve, ten of them contained....almonds. People have been eating these things for years (why, I'm not entirely sure :) ) so between common sense and labels, don't allergic people and parents of allergic kids know what to look for?
 
#6
Dr_Dorian said:
Utter crap.

I work Offshore and have to write Risk Assesments for virtually all work tasks, these have to be written by some who has done a Risk Assesors course as in the event of an accident it can be produced in court. If I was this Gentleman I would write back to the council making the following point.

1) As no one involved is trained in Risk Assesment are they going to send someone qualified to do the assesment or pay for someone to do the assesors course.

2) You wish to see the Risk Assesments the Council has prepared for all its daily tasks and functions as a guide, ie Line Painting, Grass Cutting, Refuse Bin collections etc as I bet they havent got any !!

That should shut them up.

While I syampathise with your neices situation and agree that manafacturers/bakers/little old ladies baking Mince Pies for their local fete, should state whether a product contains nuts BUT it is the responsibility of the person who has the condition to ensure that it is safe to eat.

My sister has Crohns Disease which affects her liver and digestion but doesnt expect every food to be labelled as to how it affects her condition.
You are missing the point completely, it is not council PC that demands the Risk Assesment it is the compensation culture. It is most likely their insurers will not give them cover for such event unless a risk assement has been done so the insurance company has some way of denying liability should there be a claim. Go and hold the event on non council land and try and get insurance cover and it will 1 cost you, and 2 they will still want the risk assesment, or of course don't bother about the insurance and hope there is not a claim. The last is probably OK as long as nothing does happen, but..............

I have a fair idea of what you risk assesments are like, probably very similar to our product safety clearances. For a small village event you don't need all that. You need to be able to show that as ordinary people you took all REASONABLE precautions to avoid accidents and to mitigate their impact if they do happen. Most of it is common sense and is probably done already, jus not recorded.

I have been involved in doing risk assesments for amatuer sporting events which is a small step up from this event, and it is neither onerous or difficult and should take no more than an hour or so.

Finally I agree that any one with an alergy or similar problem is responsible for their own lives, on the other hand is there any reason for not trying to be helpful when one can, surely that is just human decency.

Peter
 
#7
TankiesYank said:
OK, I'm not usually the "PC-gone-mad" type (because I believe most things usually boil down to political economy) but this one has me utterly baffled. Especially the nut allergy thing.

Were people dropping dead left and right before the whole nut (and other food) allergy thing became the panic du jour, and I simply didn't notice? Did the peanut-farming lobby suppress the news of this scourge through campaign donations? How did we manage to survive centuries of Yuletide celebrations without testing the mince pies for nuts??
There are a couple of issues which have impacted on the rise of the 'nut-allergy' syndrome. One is that an adverse reaction to nuts is often fatal if not recognised very quickly and treated with drugs which you wouldn't normally expect to find in a first aid kit; historically there hasn't been a big problem at public events because anyone likely to die from the mince pies was already dead. Secondly there are environmental issues which are suspected as causes of nut allergy, these include a variety of infant medicines and ointments which themselves include nut derivatives (off the top of my head - excema ointment?). The up shot is that there are many more people walking around with potentially fatal nut allergies than there have ever been before. I was quite surprised that my class of twenty eleven and twelve year olds last year included six epi-pens carriers.
 
#8
fartsac said:
Dr_Dorian said:
maxi_77 said:
It's in reality not so much PC as common sense in the present compensation culture. If you have not considered the risks properly and cannot show you have done all that is reasonable to mitigate these risks then if something does go wrong then it could be very expensive. The council's requirements are as much intended to protect the organisers as protect the council. In reality they are not that difficult and once done are easy to recycle for next years event.

Equally having a neice who does suffer from a nut allergy, it is something to be very carefull about, it is easy for you to be flippant but you don't have to carry with you 24/7 for the rest of your life.
Utter crap.

I work Offshore and have to write Risk Assesments for virtually all work tasks, these have to be written by some who has done a Risk Assesors course as in the event of an accident it can be produced in court. If I was this Gentleman I would write back to the council making the following point.

1) As no one involved is trained in Risk Assesment are they going to send someone qualified to do the assesment or pay for someone to do the assesors course.

2) You wish to see the Risk Assesments the Council has prepared for all its daily tasks and functions as a guide, ie Line Painting, Grass Cutting, Refuse Bin collections etc as I bet they havent got any !!

That should shut them up.

While I syampathise with your neices situation and agree that manafacturers/bakers/little old ladies baking Mince Pies for their local fete, should state whether a product contains nuts BUT it is the responsibility of the person who has the condition to ensure that it is safe to eat.

My sister has Crohns Disease which affects her liver and digestion but doesnt expect every food to be labelled as to how it affects her condition.
D_D - Spot on Fella!
fartsac- Sorry, it's impossible to read the rest of this thread because I'm utterly incapable of getting past your signature block, in the hope that it might go a bit further! :D :D :D :D
 
#9
maxi_77 said:
Dr_Dorian said:
You are missing the point completely, it is not council PC that demands the Risk Assesment it is the compensation culture. It is most likely their insurers will not give them cover for such event unless a risk assement has been done so the insurance company has some way of denying liability should there be a claim. Go and hold the event on non council land and try and get insurance cover and it will 1 cost you, and 2 they will still want the risk assesment, or of course don't bother about the insurance and hope there is not a claim. The last is probably OK as long as nothing does happen, but..............

I have a fair idea of what you risk assesments are like, probably very similar to our product safety clearances. For a small village event you don't need all that. You need to be able to show that as ordinary people you took all REASONABLE precautions to avoid accidents and to mitigate their impact if they do happen. Most of it is common sense and is probably done already, jus not recorded.

I have been involved in doing risk assesments for amatuer sporting events which is a small step up from this event, and it is neither onerous or difficult and should take no more than an hour or so.

Finally I agree that any one with an alergy or similar problem is responsible for their own lives, on the other hand is there any reason for not trying to be helpful when one can, surely that is just human decency.

Peter

Peter,

If you are writing Risk Assesments and do not have a recognised Risk Assessors course then I hope no one gets injured in circumstances ytou have missed or you will be a victim of the "Compensation Culture", just a friendly word of advice.

My post was aimed to show the ludicrous PC situation and regulations today, I work on a rig where my workmates perform crane lifts and Helicopter Operations which if they didnt obey the rules could result bodily harm or death.

I dont need to tell them that a Hot Mince Pie from the Galley can burn their mouth !!

And again as far as I am concerned it is only proper to label food containing nust as so but it is not the manafacturers responsibility to stop people with nut allergies eating them is it ??
 
#10
Agree with the point about Compensation Culture and gutless insurance companies but the real issue is that many parts of local and national government have a unique talent at Gold Plating quite sane and sensible requirements and create a pointless nightmare.

This is all about Process and Reporting insanity which this Governemnt is so good at promoting. All this will do is to enable someone somewhere to check a box saying that someone else has carried out a largely pointless and OTT process that. It does not confirm that the Process does anything substantive or constructive, just that it happened and somebody can audit that.

This "check the box" mentality is the cause of many nonsenses in Government throughout the world and it is growing all the time. There are a great many people not far from me who do nothing apart from chasing up to obtain confirmations that a Process they do not understand has happened. They do not really know (nor indeed care) that it may have been done badly or that the reports generated are complete nonsense. It enables them to report that all is well because a Process is in place when they have absolutely no idea what is going on.
 
#11
Mince pies

WARNING
May have been t0ssed around with by Jamie oliver and not taste as nice. Obviously contains nuts, raisins and alcohol. Not suitable for vegan lesbians. Merry Christmas (warning, contains word christ and implies this is a christian festival).

Oh sometimes I want to open the gun cabinet, put the fifteen hundred cartridges from my magazine in the car and just drive to Islington!
 
#12
Cuddles said:
Mince pies

WARNING
May have been t0ssed around with by Jamie oliver and not taste as nice. Obviously contains nuts, raisins and alcohol. Not suitable for vegan lesbians. Merry Christmas (warning, contains word christ and implies this is a christian festival).

Oh sometimes I want to open the gun cabinet, put the fifteen hundred cartridges from my magazine in the car and just drive to Islington!
Oh, I thought that it was a Coca-cola advertising exercise.
 
#13
fas_et_gloria said:
I was quite surprised that my class of twenty eleven and twelve year olds last year included six epi-pens carriers.
Jeez, that is the kind of stat that will make you sit up and take notice. (As you noted, the seeming absence of reporting in the past is part of what's baffling me.)

But nobody's addressed the most significant point...that mince pies taste like candy-coated shite, anyway. :D
 
#14
TankiesYank said:
fas_et_gloria said:
I was quite surprised that my class of twenty eleven and twelve year olds last year included six epi-pens carriers.
Jeez, that is the kind of stat that will make you sit up and take notice. (As you noted, the seeming absence of reporting in the past is part of what's baffling me.)

But nobody's addressed the most significant point...that mince pies taste like candy-coated shite, anyway. :D
Unless, key point here, you've dissolved all of your taste buds by drinking Coke.

My suspicion is that the reporting in the past was, in the majority, of the, 'four year old dies at Christmas fete', variety and was not of the saturation to which we are used now on the basis of manufaturer's advice labels. Someone, somewhere will have trawled the local papers for past examples of anaphalactic shock deaths - but it wasn't me.
 
#15
Dr_Dorian said:
Peter,

If you are writing Risk Assesments and do not have a recognised Risk Assessors course then I hope no one gets injured in circumstances ytou have missed or you will be a victim of the "Compensation Culture", just a friendly word of advice.

My post was aimed to show the ludicrous PC situation and regulations today, I work on a rig where my workmates perform crane lifts and Helicopter Operations which if they didnt obey the rules could result bodily harm or death.

I dont need to tell them that a Hot Mince Pie from the Galley can burn their mouth !!

And again as far as I am concerned it is only proper to label food containing nust as so but it is not the manafacturers responsibility to stop people with nut allergies eating them is it ??
I have similar experience of safety requiremnts both through work and through sport. My post was to show that sometimes the apparently PC is in fact for ones own protection and the protection of others.

In general safety assesments are not PC but good common sense and practice. I would agree that if you are doing them professionally proper training is probably a 'good thing', but for most informal and amatuer activities good common sense and the ability to show that all reasonable precautions were taken is enough, and I have had that checked out through my sports governing body.

As to the temperature of mince pies as this can vary it is courtesy to remind people if your pies are hot rather than luewarm and equally avoids future litigation. I agree it is not the food suppliers problem who eats it as long as they give people the facts as to the contents. Of course one can be helpful in this and equally one can be obstructive, I prefer the helpful mode myself.

Peter
 
#16
TankiesYank said:
But nobody's addressed the most significant point...that mince pies taste like candy-coated shite, anyway. :D
As opposed to Pecan pie?!

Those that live in glass houses etc. :D :D
 
#17
Cuddles said:
Mince pies

WARNING
May have been t0ssed around with by Jamie oliver and not taste as nice. Obviously contains nuts, raisins and alcohol. Not suitable for vegan lesbians. Merry Christmas (warning, contains word christ and implies this is a christian festival).

Oh sometimes I want to open the gun cabinet, put the fifteen hundred cartridges from my magazine in the car and just drive to Islington!
Cuddles mate, if you need someone to do the reloading for you, let me know.....and when we have finished in Islington, we can stop off for a replen and head for Westminster.
 
#18
Dr Dorian, where have you got the idea that you need to do training to be competent to do risk assessment?

The HSE doesnt think training is that important to do risk assessment (although it might be on an oil rig - but not the village xmas party) and have specifically designed risk assessments to be completed by untrained individuals , competency is defined as a suitable combination of training, knowledge, experience and skills. If you ask the council to send someone around they will just tell you to cancel the party....

This is about the councils desire to cover their backside if there is an 'incident' - and because they like goldplating everything - turning molehills into mountains.

I'm an experienced H&S Advisor, me and another bloke who is an HSE inspector run a community group, and do we do all this 20 risk assessments for wiping our backsides? - Do we b*llocks! Because we know what the law and compensation really is about, and tell the council to get stuffed when they come the nanny state with us.

We do a few common sense things when we do things in the community, but we do it because some of the things we do can be hazardous and we dont want people to get hurt, and we evidence the process sufficiently to prove we have done everything reasonable - this includes very little paperwork.

Yet again it is people who know nothing about H&S, and worry too much about compensation, even though claims have gone down over the past 10 years, and make a complete laughing stock out of having a xmas party.

Ratcatcher
 
#19
Ratcatcher said:
Dr Dorian, where have you got the idea that you need to do training to be competent to do risk assessment?

Those are the rules in my line of work, under the HSE rules for Offshore work.

Almost every task that we do that involves potential injury has to be risk assessed, generally once one is written for a specific task it is then stored so that it can be adjusted where necessary and used for that task being performed again in the future. We all do Risk Assesment either with our companies, through computer based learning either onshore or on the platforms or as part of a Rig Induction maybe.

Are you saying that the HSE dont think that training is important for writing a Risk Assesment ??, or do you issue "an idiots guide" for completing them ?? I have to ask though, if formal training is not required why the hell am I being sent on courses in my time off to do it ??

I am offshore for Xmas and New Year and will look into this just out of interest, and in the interests of super safety will also avoid the Mince Pies !! .. :wink:
 
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