Friday, September 26, 2014

Allergens focus of final lesson of National Food Safety Month

As September comes to an end, so does the 2014 National Food Safety Month, but food safety should be your focus every day as you run your restaurant. Each week in September, the Louisiana Restaurant Association has covered an important topic from ServSafe food safety and sanitation training course, using the theme, “20 Tips for 20 Years of National Food Safety Month.”  

Fifteen million Americans suffer from food allergies, so it is important for foodservice personnel to understand what the Big 8 are, how to avoid cross contact and how to identify an allergic reaction. The final lesson is about allergens and the Big 8.

A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein (food allergen). While more than 160 food items can cause allergic reactions, just eight of those accounts for 90 percent of all reactions. These eight foods are known as the “Big 8.” They are: tree nuts, peanuts, soy, egg, milk, fish, wheat and shellfish.

Cross-contact is the transfer of an allergen from a food containing the allergen to a food that does not contain the allergen. One of the most important ways you can keep guests with food allergies safe is by preventing cross-contact. Read steps to avoid cross-contact here.

The NRA and the LRA partner to offer ServSafe Allergens, an online, interactive 90-minute training course to assist restaurateurs and foodservice personnel in understanding and communicating the risks associated with serving guests with food allergies. The course is just $22 and can be accessed here.

Finally, there are six key symptoms of a food-allergic reaction. Below is a quiz you can do with your staff. The answer key can be found at

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