Thursday, September 27, 2012

Food Safety Month concludes, but is a year round practice for restaurateurs

This week is the final one for the annual September is National Food Safety Month awareness campaign. Although we focus on food safety during September, it is a daily practice for every restaurant. Preventing foodborne illnesses is of the utmost importance for the Louisiana Restaurant Association and for restaurants, as only one outbreak can be dire for the future of an establishment.

Week 5 of National Food Safety Month focuses on
cross-contact of food allergens to prevent illness.

We’ve explored the theme, “Be Safe, Don’t Cross Contaminate,” each week this month beginning with personal hygiene practices that prevent cross contamination. The second week’s topic was focused on proper hand washing, followed by week three with cleaning and sanitizing practices to prevent cross contamination. During week four, we discussed preventing cross contamination during storage, preparation and cooking.

During the final week of NFSM, we’ll explore a topic that is increasingly a challenge for many Americans—food allergens. A food allergen is a protein in a food or ingredient that some people are sensitive to and occur naturally. When enough of an allergen is eaten, an allergic reaction can occur. You must make sure that allergens are not transferred from food containing an allergen to the food that is to be eaten. This is called cross-contact.

Here’s how cross-contact can occur:
  • Cooking different types of food in the same fryer oil
  • Putting food on surfaces that have touched allergens
  • Not washing, rinsing and sanitizing utensils
Steps to avoid cross-contact include:
  • Wash, rinse and sanitize cookware, utensils and equipment after handling a food allergen
  • Washing your hands and change gloves before prepping food
  • Use separate fryers and cooking oils when frying food for customers with food allergies
  • Prep food for customers with food allergies in a separate area from other food
  • Label food packaged on site for retail sale. Name all major allergens on the label and follow any additional labeling requirements
Be aware of common allergy symptoms and common food allergens. The symptoms include: nausea, wheezing or shortness of breath, hives or itchy rashes, swelling of various parts of the body like the face, eyes, hands or feet, vomiting and/or diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Common food allergies include: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans.

Through ServSafe, a nationally-approved and recognized, good standard curriculum for food safety and sanitation, the LRA has trained thousands of restaurant and foodservice employees.

To register for a ServSafe course, click here. Classes are offered across Louisiana.

No comments:

Post a Comment