Allergies are big issues. As a foodservice operator, it impacts every facet of your operation.
In the U.S. the statistics are:
An Allergen Management Plan is a critical component in your food safety initiatives. Foodservice operators must do everything within their power to ensure allergenic foods and ingredients do not find their way into products for which they are not intended. Taking safety precautions incorporating Allergen Management into your operation goes hand in hand with implementing food safety practices. Both food allergies and foodborne contamination can lead to a serious illness and even death. This poses another challenge for operators as they have to invest in additional equipment, supplies and storage space to accommodate customers that suffer from food allergies.
Allergen Management has been especially tough on small restaurants that are already facing issues with limited space.
“It’s not only the equipment… we have to segregate storage and preparation areas. Not sure where I am going to find the room, but if I want to stay in business I have to find a way.”
Not only are space issues adding another level of complexity, but so is training employees. Restaurants are now having to take steps to not only train their staff about accommodating those with a food allergy, but also train them on what to do if an allergic reaction occurs.
An Allergen Management Plan is about protecting the health and confidence of consumers. But it is also about protecting the financial health and reputation of your business.
Here are some ways operators are implementing Allergen Management into their operation:
- Identifying allergenic ingredients by personalizing and/or color coding — isolating allergens from non-allergenic ingredients/products in storage.
- When segregated storage is not possible, they use other methods such as not storing allergens over non-allergens, storing like allergens (milk and whey) together, etc. Many operators are designating specific shelving levels to store allergens away from non-allergenic ingredients.
- Using and documenting clean up procedures for spills or damaged containers of allergens.
- Using clearly designated staging areas and equipment for allergenic foods and ingredients.
Foodservice operators can rely upon industry partners to share with them developments in allergy management and solutions that can enhance their safety programs. Get in touch with a Cambro rep today – click here to find your local rep.