Improving Allergy Awareness in Food Service
With the number of people who have food allergies or intolerances on the rise, commercial kitchens need to ensure their labelling procedures are accurate, clear and informative and their food preparation practices are sound. Patrons who clearly express to waiting staff that they may not ingest various foods need to be confident accidents will not occur during their meal and effective kitchen procedures will help to make certain this potentially life-threatening event does not take place. Common ingredients like milk, peanuts, various tree nuts, fish, soy-based product and various grains are known to produce dangerous allergic reactions or other uncomfortable responses.
Food labelling for allergies
All commercial kitchens should have existing food labelling procedures to manage freshness and quality. Taking into account allergies and intolerances is simply an extension of this system and various labelling products exist to help chefs and kitchen staff easily accommodate it into their day-to-day operations.
By using colour coded labels and providing sufficient staff training, it is a relatively simple operation to ensure foods containing gluten, milk or eggs, for example, are readily identifiable. Consequently, a safe and enjoyable meal may be prepared and served to a grateful diner whom will then be happy to relate their positive experience to other friends or colleagues.
Preventing cross contamination of allergens
In addition to food labelling, colour-coded cutting boards can prevent the cross contamination of allergens. When made from durable polyethylene, they won’t chip, crack or blunt knives so are perfect for standing up to the rigours of commercial kitchens while not providing a home for germs and bacteria.
Colour coding and staff training allows them to be used for specific and compatible purposes which will help maintain quality kitchen output. Arrange various racks of these at convenient intervals around the kitchen to ensure efficiency and quality preparation. You can also purchase an allergen food prep kit which features an eye-catching purple colour that designates the tools to be used to prevent cross-contamination.
Effective cleaning of food preparation surfaces
It is also vital for effective cleaning procedures to be established in commercial kitchens to ensure cross-contamination does not occur. A common example of this may arise when pastry is being prepared on a surface where nuts have just been crushed. If the surface has not been properly cleaned between uses, traces of nuts may still be present and therefore end up in the pastry and on the plate of the diner with a nut allergy. By using a simple swab test between food handling procedures, kitchen staff may detect traces of food left behind and determine if the surface is safe to use.
Owners and chefs thrive on their reputations. Employing proper food labelling, preparation and cleaning procedures in their kitchens will go a long way to ensuring their reputations are held in high esteem. When these elements are diligently applied by professional kitchen staff, patrons can be assured their meals are safe and an enjoyable dining experience will not be followed by uncomfortable or life-threatening allergic responses.
Fildes Food Safety are experts in advising commercial kitchens on allergy management – talk to us today on how to improve this capability in your own business.