When serving food to your customers, it is important to be aware of food allergies.
About 2% of adults and 4-8% of children in the United States suffer from food allergies. Symptoms of a food allergy can range from the uncomfortable (hives, skin rash, abdominal cramps, or vomiting) to the life-threatening (asphyxiation). The most common food allergies are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
The following are steps you can take to ensure food allergy safety:
- Train your staff to ask customers if they have any food allergies. Communicate those allergies to the kitchen.
- You should disclose if any of the food you are serving contains food allergens if that is not apparent in the menu description. Examples might be a cookie using peanut butter or a sauce containing milk.
- Avoid cross contamination by storing and cooking food allergens separately. For example, keep a deep fat fryer for shrimp and other shellfish separate from a fryer used for chicken and fries.
Remember, cooking may kill foodborne illnesses but will not affect the dangerous effects of food allergens.