Protecting your customers from allergic reactions begins in the kitchen. By taking steps to prevent exposure and cross- contact during food preparation, you can help keep your customers safer. Here are some tips to come up with your own allergy management plan.
1. Understand Your Ingredients
Have a clear understanding of the ingredients used in your kitchen, and which ones contain a common allergen. Ask your vendors to share any food allergy information they may have. In many parts of the world, food allergens must be declared on labels,1 so read labels carefully and recheck them regularly for changes. If a label says, “may contain traces of…”, the food is probably prepared in a factory that also makes products containing the allergen. These trace amounts may be significant enough to cause a serious allergic reaction.
2. Review Your Recipes
Review your recipes frequently, keeping an updated record of which ones contain allergens. This record should be easily accessible to your staff and management. Identify which recipes can be adapted with simple substitutions, and which are prohibited for people with specific food allergies. This will help your kitchen address each customer’s needs, while reassuring guests that you have their best interests at hands.
3. Manage Your Workspace
Anyone preparing food should understand the importance of following food allergy protocol. Make sure your staff knows that food allergies can be life threatening, and use the tips on the Nutripro previous article2 to reduce the risk of cross contact.
- EUFIC (2018) “Food Allergens” www.eufic.org
- Food Allergy Research & Education (2017) “Avoiding Cross-Contact” www.foodallergy.org