Many legislative measures have been taken at both state and municipal levels to improve allergen awareness in the food industry. Betsy Craig, a spokesperson for the labeling company MenuTrinfo, LLC, is committed to bringing more awareness to both customers and staff and is launching her new company, Kitchens with Confidence, LLC which is fueled by this desire. After having spent years teaching the importance of allergen awareness through the AllerTrain certification courses, Betsy has offered some helpful insights and steps for staff to protect the health and safety of restaurant diners:
- Print recipes and make them readily available to the staff. Educate the staff on each of the ingredients in a particular recipe or dish and show what could be changed or substituted for customers with allergens.
- Learn the alternate names of the big 8 allergens developed by Food Allergy Research & Education.
- Create a policy that described how each staff member (both front and back of house) should handle and react to allergen related questions about the menu.
- Make a disclaimer visible in the restaurant that explains to guests that they must alert the servers if they have a food allergy. Post the same disclaimer on the paper menus, online, and on menu boards. The disclaimer will reassure the guests that your restaurant has made strong efforts to accommodate special dietary needs.
- Always use sanitized cloths to wipe down surfaces after a first wipe with soapy water.
- Identify allergen-free dishes on the menu with either special icons, or different font/colors.
- Label tools and plates in the kitchen used for allergen-free dishes. Purple is the most common color now used in the kitchen to identify allergy-friendly foods.
To read more about how to ensure the health and safety of diners and the protection of staff regarding safe serving, click here