|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
- 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
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.