In todays day and age, being aware of, and catering for allergies is imperative. The number of people suffering from allergies or food intolerance is rising and therefore the likelihood of one of your guests having an allergy is quite high. Just about every food has the capability to cause an allergic reaction, however some common allergy inducing foods include: nuts, eggs, dairy, shellfish and wheat. Guests attending a catered function should give notice of their allergy prior to the event to give caterers time to prepare an alternate menu.
- Use separate utensils to cook the meal for the person with the allergy to what you would for the rest of the meals.
- Continually clean preparation areas, wash hands with hot soapy water and change gloves and aprons after handling allergens.
- Have a designated ‘nut free’ or ‘shellfish free’ station to ensure no cross contamination
- Cover the dishes once prepared
Ensure Information is Accurate:
- Advising on the menu that some meals contain nuts, or gluten etc, ask getting customers to ask staff for advice ensures the customer is choosing the best meal for their needs.
- File and retain packaging so you have the ingredient lists with you if need be
- A separate menu highlighting key allergens in the menu should be provided to customers with allergies so they can make an informed food decision.
- Very clearly describe the foods on your menu, highlighting key allergens e.g. “Double Chocolate Brownie with macadamia nuts”
In an Emergency:
- Call 000 and inform them the person is suffering from anaphylaxis.
- Administer their epi-pen (adrenalin) if they have it with them, and note the time it was given.
- Send someone out to direct the ambulance
Creating an allergen safe environment is important to having an inclusive hospitality business. It is important to never assume things, and to always seek hard facts, e.g. the ingredients in tomato sauce, or in banana bread, to ensure the information you are supplying to the customers is in fact correct. Allergies can be life threatening, and as a hospitality worker, you have a duty of care to the customer to provide them a safe and enjoyable experience.