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Are you prepared to cater to the 15 million Americans affected by food allergies?

It is important for operators to understand the needs and precautions required when serving guests with allergies; that’s why this year’s National Food Safety Month will spotlight the increasing importance of food allergen awareness.

Each year, food allergies lead to approximately 200,000 Americans visiting emergency rooms, 2,000 being hospitalized, and 150 Americans dying. In order to prevent allergic reactions in your restaurant, here are three tactics you should consider:

1.      Implement a food allergy menu. Guests with food allergies are most likely to dine in a restaurant that caters to their needs. Consider making a special menu that includes allergy-free options.

 2.      Partner with a local hospital. Partner with a local hospital in which your restaurant can be a resource for those living with food allergies. Soon your restaurant will become more than just a location to dine – it will serve as a resource, enticing new customers.

 3.      Create a food separation process. Separate food before and after preparing menu options to create allergy-free foods, as wells as to avoid cross-contamination during storage, preparation and cooking.

As a sponsor of National Food Safety Month and a strong supporter of hygiene education and best practices, Tork is helping to provide materials and course development for five core educational sessions to make restaurant dining safer. The free programs include:

Week 1: The Big 8 and Cross-Contact

Week 2: Reading Labels

Week 3: Cross-Contact: Front of the House

Week 4: Purchasing and Transportation

Week 5: Separation in Equipment and Storage

Through these online training programs, restaurant and business owners, as well as their employees, will learn the basic information required to ensure everyone takes the steps necessary to keep customers safe. To become more aware of food allergies, check out the resources available on the National Food Safety Month website.