Prevent cross-contamination from potentially harmful allergens this Food Allergy Awareness Week
It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, and this year we’re excited to be talking all things food safety and how commercial kitchens across the hospitality, healthcare and aged care industries can take measures to prevent allergic reactions in patrons and patients. Over 19% of the population of Australia has at least one allergy, and cases of food associated anaphylaxis have worryingly doubled over the last decade. With allergens posing a serious threat to members of the public who may be at risk of a severe allergic reaction, it is vital that those preparing, and handling food take precautionary measures to prevent cross-contamination and label foods with potentially harmful allergens correctly and accordingly.
While it’s a little-known fact that any food can cause an allergic reaction, there are many food categories which are known to trigger severe and often distressing reactions in members of the public. These include:
· Tree nuts
· Sesame Seeds
The effects of allergic reactions can range from mild, to severe and even fatal. Members of the public deemed at risk in healthcare facilities and aged care homes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of an allergic reaction. Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, wheeziness, dizziness leading to collapse, vomiting, hoarse voice, hives, persistent cough, facial swelling and tingling sensations around the lips and mouth. While some of these symptoms can cause mild discomfort, others can result in lasting physical damage and even death.
A high-level of diligence is therefore vital for chefs and those handling food and serving meals in restaurants and care facilities. Maintaining an awareness of food safety practices and the ingredients served to the consumer is essential. From implementing food safety processes to prevent cross-contamination to the use of food labels to enable staff to accurately identify foods that may contain allergens, there are a number of measures that can be taken to preserve the safety of patrons and patients.
Amongst a variety of commercial kitchen supplies available to protect the public from allergens, food safety labels allow for processes to be easily implemented in any commercial kitchen. Food safety labels cover all of the major food allergens making it easy for kitchen staff to select the accurate label and add it to the corresponding food container. In this way, food labels are one of the most efficient ways to reduce the risk of any harm coming to patrons or patients from allergens.
Alongside a food labelling system, commercial kitchen staff should also use colour-coded chopping boards to reduce the risk of the cross-contamination from allergens. Colour-coding means that each of the chopping boards can used for specific ingredients to prevent potentially harmful allergens from contaminating meals where they would otherwise not be present. A designated allergen food prep kit can also be used to signify which utensils should be used to prevent cross-contamination.
Fildes Food Safety is Australia’s leading provider of commercial kitchen food safety supplies, including food labelling resources, tools for the prevention of cross-contamination and educational products designed to enhance food safety processes. Take a look at how our lines of food safety products can reduce the risk of anaphylaxis and preserve the safety of customers and patients this Food Allergy Awareness Week.