Accommodating Food Allergies Safely
As excited as we are that spring has arrived, we’re already being reminded that all those beautiful blooms bring on not-so-beautiful seasonal allergies. Fortunately, we have countless remedies to keep our seasonal sniffles under control, but food allergies are a completely different story.
Regularly making foodservice industry headlines prior to 2020, food allergies remain at an historic high. According to foodallergy.org, an estimated 32 million Americans (1 in 10 adults and 1 in 13 children) have them. Considering that allergic reactions can range from mild to life threatening, accommodating food allergies is a serious responsibility.
The following foods are considered to be the “Dangerous 8” due to the severity of reactions they cause for those allergic to them:
- Tree Nuts
Common as the above foods are, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—and then some. Not only do both front and back-of-house staff need to be carefully trained, but they must be provided with the tools to keep allergen-free foods properly separated from potentially dangerous allergens.
Purple has become the industry standard to designate equipment and supplies that have not been exposed to allergens, and thankfully a wide variety of commercial grade prep and storage tools have been developed to help you protect those you serve.
With the Mercer Culinary Allergen Safety Collection, all products feature a prominent purple color to provide your kitchen with a safe, simple, and easy way to avoid cross-contamination of products containing allergens or gluten. From a complete assortment of knives, turners, scrapers, and pizza cutters to mixing spoons, spreaders and baking mats, Mercer’s allergen safety collection covers all your prep needs to help you protect your customers with food allergies.
If you’re just getting started, Mercer has developed a comprehensive, purple prep tool and storage tote set to simplify implementation of new allergen safety programs with a single item code. These allergen safety kitchen tools are also sold individually.
Carefully separated storage is another critical part of allergen safety. Durable Allergen-Free Camwear® CamSquares by Cambro maximize food storage capacity while increasing safety and allergen awareness in fast-paced kitchens. These containers are crystal clear for at-a-glance inventorying and content identification and are permanently labeled “Allergen Free” with easy-to-read purple graduations.
Use with Cambro’s purple Allergen Free snap on covers that visually reinforce the allergen-free message, provide a physical barrier to protect against cross-contamination, and extend shelf life all at the same time.
Allergen Free Camwear® Measuring Cups provide an additional valuable tool to protect against potentially dangerous allergens. Available in 1 cup, 1 pint, 2 and 4 quart sizes, these crystal-clear measuring cups are all permanently labeled with the “Allergen Free” purple logo and standard graduations for speed and consistency. Their virtually unbreakable material withstands acids, stains, and odors for long term use.
Pairing proper tools with specific training is a sound strategy to protect your customers and your business from potentially severe allergic food reactions. Allertrain, ServSafe, and many universities offer excellent allergen training programs for foodservice professionals. With online training options and group discounts, these programs can be surprisingly accessible and affordable.
When it comes to identifying the best commercial grade equipment and supplies to make your foodservice operation safer, that's our specialty. Contact us.