School can be a tough place for anyone, let alone a student with allergies. No child wants to be the reason everyone else can’t eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches—in fact, recent studies have shown that food allergen bans are not medically necessary nor are they effective in preventing allergic reactions. Instead, it’s recommended to train staff on food allergies, have epinephrine available to treat anaphylaxis and encourage handwashing after meals and snacks.
One in 13 American children under the age of 18 have a food allergy, and foodservice professionals need effective ways of providing consistent allergy management despite changes to meal service. From the kitchen to the hallway to the classroom, Cambro has products specifically designed to decrease the chances of cross-contamination.
- The Kitchen
When it comes to food allergies, there are nine culprits to blame for about 90% of reactions in the US: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy and sesame. It’s essential to clearly label every ingredient in your kitchen so that nothing accidentally gets mixed up. Easily identify approved ingredients like almond flour inside Allergen-Free Purple Camwear® CamSquares covered with Seal Covers. Plus, storage containers like Ingredient Bins, Camwear Pans and Camwear Boxes can all be personalized with purple allergen-free insignia for additional prep and storage needs.
When prepping food, create a system of equipment that is only used with allergen-free ingredients. Designating specific spatulas, cutting boards and measuring cups is a great way to decrease the chances of cross-contamination that could lead to a child receiving food with a prohibited ingredient. Camwear Measuring Cups are available with purple graduations and an allergen-free logo to help employees maintain safety.
- The Hallway
Providing breakfast in the hallway or high-traffic area of campus is a great way to promote social distancing and increase participation, but it can be a little more difficult to protect students from foods containing allergens. When using a cart, like the Camshelving Premium Series® Flex Station, designate and clearly label containers holding allergen-free foods and snacks. The Flex Station includes 12 ID Tags to allow students to read exactly what is inside each box. We suggest providing at least one full row of allergen-free options to provide students with variety and to feel less excluded from the rest of the cart.
- The Classroom
Delivering meals to the classroom seem difficult enough as it is but keeping allergen-free items separate can add an extra layer of stress. We offer a couple of products that support temperature maintenance while providing easy identification:
- Half-size Cam GoBox® to maintain safe hot or cold temperatures for just a few meals. The smaller box is easy for staff to identify on its own, and colored, marker-safe ID tags make their contents unmistakable.
- Delivery GoBags®: Constructed with heavy duty, sewn in straps and high density insulation, Delivery GoBags maintain safe temperatures and are designed with a clear pocket.
- Ultimate Sheet Pan Rack: Warren City Schools uses their Ultimate Sheet Pan Rack to transport packaged lunches from the kitchen to the classroom. Train employees to load allergen-free meals on the top of the rack to keep them separated.
Living as a child with food allergies can be tough, but implementing proper labels, identification techniques and options can make students feel less different. Contact your local Cambro sales rep for more ideas on how Cambro products can help support food safety at your schools.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.