How to develop a food-safe menu
Menus are an often-overlooked component of food safety within the commercial kitchen or restaurant. Ideally, menus should be carefully curated by the chef to ensure that all information provided best meets the varying needs of patrons, which may include allergen awareness or dietary information.
Fildes Food Safety, Australia’s chosen provider of food safety resources in commercial kitchens, has collated some of the industry’s leading tips for developing food-safe menus.
1. Clearly label common food allergens and dietary preferences
Common food allergens should be clearly labelled on restaurant menus to ensure that patrons make well-informed choices. Important labels are gluten-free, halal, dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan. Using symbols or letters (such as 'GF') alongside a key ensures that identification is with ease.
2. Include an allergen statement
It is both the patron’s responsibility to disclose allergies and the restaurants to ensure that the relevant meals are allergen-free. By including an allergen statement, the restaurant can inform patrons that menu items may contain or encounter common allergens and ask that the customers communicate with restaurant staff at the beginning of their order to best accommodate within the kitchen.
3. Disclose high-risk foods
Outside of allergen information, menus should offer information disclosing high-risk foods that may place at-risk patrons, such as the elderly, pregnant or immune-compromised, in danger. Examples of this may include raw fish such as sashimi, undercooked meats such as rare steak, or uncooked eggs within mayonnaise.
4. Regularly sanitise physical menus
Often disregarded, physical menus require frequent cleaning and sanitisation due to handling by crowds of people. In the wake of the Covid Pandemic, digital menus are the best practice to avoid contamination. Otherwise, disposable menus are encouraged, or materials can be wiped over, such as laminated paper or plastic.
Fildes Food Safety assists commercial kitchens in developing food-safe processes, understanding the importance of building and maintaining a strong food safety culture within organisations. Browse the full range of products available via the Fildes Food Safety website.