Several restaurants listed on the food delivery app Just Eat have been providing incorrect information concerning food allergens, a BBC Panorama investigation has discovered.
The research, also found that over 100 restaurants listed on the app had a food hygiene rating of zero, despite some being promoted by Just Eat as a “local legend”.
Just Eat does not require restaurants to provide any allergen information on their app or website. Customers are expected to contact the restaurants directly to directly to find out allergen information.
However, even when customers do so, they’re not guaranteed to receive accurate information about the ingredients that their food contains, the documentary finds.
BBC Panorama reporter Tina Daheley pretended to be a customer with food allergies when ordering food at restaurants through Just Eat.
She ordered a chicken chow mein dish from Tong Feng House in Greater Manchester, a restaurant that has five-star customer views on the Just Eat app but a zero-star hygiene rating. Despite being assured that the dish didn’t contain any wheat, this claim proved to be false when the food was sent for scientific testing.
Daheley also ordered a burger without a bun from Mama Mia Pizza in Birmingham, another restaurant with a zero-star hygiene rating. The reporter was incorrectly informed by an employee that the burger didn’t contain any wheat.
In another instance, Daheley called Karo’s Pizza in Liverpool to ask whether it would be safe for her to eat their cheese burger as an individual with a wheat allergy, a question that the employee on the phone was unable to confidently answer.
JustEat says it has launched an investigation into the matter and said that it was concerned to discover restaurants were not giving accurate information, saying it had “we have already offered further support and training”. The company told Panorama: “We are investigating how this has happened to stop this from happening again.”
Shirley Cramer CBE, the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “The food hygiene rating system is vastly important for us understanding how good a restaurant is. I don’t think in anybody’s mind [a zero-rated restaurant] would be a ‘local legend’.”
BBC Panorama “Takeaway Secrets Exposed” was aired on 14 January and can be viewed here.