A SCOTTISH food tech start-up has developed software designed to help solve the dangerous allergy dilemma facing food outlets.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) this week urged Government ministers to adopt strict new rules to compel businesses to highlight the 14 major allergens on products.

To help restaurants, takeaways and cafes cope with the onerous task of tracking and labelling dishes and ingredients for allergy sufferers, Edinburgh-based firm ePOS Hybrid has created a platform which allows food outlets to update allergy information on menus, websites and ordering systems “with a few simple clicks of a button”.

It also ensures that all staff have access to the information, whether in the kitchen, on the floor or in the delivery chain.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight following the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in July 2016 after she ate a Pret a Manger sandwich which did not list all of its ingredients.

Her death prompted the FSA review and this week’s recommendations.

FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock described it as a “life threatening issue for a proportion of the population”, but also acknowledged that the new rules could place a heavy burden on food businesses.

Bhas Kalangi, ePOS Hybrid founder, said: “The FSA is absolutely right to highlight the problems that allergen labelling poses for food businesses.

“The time, cost and difficulty of tracking and listing allergens during food preparation was one of the main issues that came up when I was carrying out my own research of restaurants and takeaways.

“As a result, businesses are repeatedly failing to do this. For most of them it is simply too complex a problem to track and keep on top of.

“However, our technology provides the manager of a hospitality business with the option to list and update allergen information for all food items with a few simple clicks of a button.”

Founded in 2016, ePOS Hybrid now has 28 staff, with plans to roll out its software to hospitality businesses across the UK and beyond.

The start-up’s platform provides business management, efficiency and streamlining tools, integrated with a full point of sale system.

The Android-based system can automate every aspect of a venue’s operation – from stock management to staff training and rotas.

Kalangi added: “It is very quick and easy to add allergen information to our system and update it as menus develop.

“The information is copied across every outlet where our system is used and on websites, tablets, digital menus, checkouts and any digital app. Staff have the information easily to hand, while customers can choose dishes with confidence

“And, crucially, the businesses are legally compliant.”