Food allergy safety in restaurants has come under the microscope as the incidence of cross-contamination, and severe reactions rise. If you own a restaurant or any food service, you should have a food allergy safety plan. Here are three tools you should use to increase food allergy safety in your commercial kitchen.
Have a Plan and Provide Training
Any food service owner/manager should have a plan for allergen-sensitive meals. You can use different colored plates, different colored food tickets, and food markers to indicate special preparation of allergen-sensitive food. Servers should be trained to recognize these symbols.
Allergen-sensitive meals should be delivered to the table separately. Several plates of food are typically carried to the table at once, but allergen-sensitive plates should be delivered separately.
Servers often assist each other during rushes. The server that takes the order is the only server that would know that an allergen-sensitive meal is on the table. A coding system to identify allergen-sensitive meals can ensure that every server knows what to do.
Proper Sanitation in the Kitchen
Cross-contamination is one of the biggest problems regarding food allergy safety. Every item prepared for common food allergens should be washed with soap and water. Counters and prep areas should also be cleaned with soap and water. Chefs and sous chefs should wash their hands and change their gloves after handling food allergens. Proper sanitation is essential when it comes to reducing food allergy cross-contamination.
Color-coded storage equipment can help. Seafood and meats should be stored separately in color-coded containers. According to the USDA, food thermometers are accurate to within two to four degrees. Ensure your kitchen staff is checking storage temperatures and keeping foods separate.
Invest in Separate Equipment
It can be difficult not to have an incidence of cross-contamination of food allergens in a busy kitchen. However, if you have separate equipment for food prep, it can make it a lot easier to avoid kitchen “mix-ups” that are risky for food-allergy dining guests. Designated equipment and a properly trained kitchen staff can help increase food allergy safety.
Your staff can benefit from ServSafe certification training. Enroll staff members today and reduce the risk of food allergy contamination in your food service business. Do it today.