Dealing with Food Allergies

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From food trucks to fine dining establishments, all foodservice operations have a responsibility to their customers to prevent food allergies. With the increased prevalence of food allergies in modern times, foodservice operations must create and follow strict protocol when a guest notifies the staff of a potential allergy. Follow these guidelines to implement a food safety protocol within your own foodservice establishment.

Understand the Root Causes

While food allergies range in cause and severity, there are eight food categories which are the main triggers of food reactions; milk, fish, soybeans, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, shellfish, and wheat. Even trace amounts of these substances can trigger a severe allergic reaction so preventing cross-contamination in the kitchen is critical to preventing a food allergy attack.

Minimize Risk Daily

Preventing food allergies should be an everyday part of your food preparation routine. Train servers to ask guests whether or not anyone at the table has a food allergy upon greeting the party. Ensure the very basics of proper handwashing skills are followed by all staff members. Purchase color-coded utensils, cutting boards, or plates for differentiation purposes for an easy, visual method to preventing cross-contamination.

Fine Tune Your Plan

When a staff member is notified of customer’s sensitivity or allergy to a certain food type, the whole staff must have a detailed, predetermined action plan to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring. To form a detailed plan, consider contacting an allergist for the most updated allergy prevention methods. From ordering to the final plating, seamless communication between front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house is critical to ensure the correct food safety methods have been taken. If, despite prevention methods, an allergic reaction occurs, contact emergency services immediately.

With simple education and preparation methods in place, your foodservice establishment can help prevent allergic reactions and deliver a safe dining experiences for all guests.