If you read that title expecting to find the magic cure to stop everyone from being allergic to your food, we’re sorry to tell you that it’s impossible. You can do everything to protect your customers from biting into something that they shouldn’t, but in the end, your customer is also responsible for getting tested for allergies and staying vigilant about reading the list of ingredients. It’s your responsibility to keep your customers away from harmful ingredients by following these essential steps:
Separate Your Cooking Utensils
If you cook using the major food allergens like gluten, peanuts, and shellfish, we highly recommend using completely different cutting boards, knives, utensils, cookware, and even appliances. It might seem like overkill, but once you realize that some allergies are so bad that even the smell of an allergen can cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock, you understand that it’s an expense that could save lives.
Warn Patrons Before They Walk In
This costs nothing more than the price of printer ink and a single sheet of paper. Put a sign up on the door of your restaurant to warn patrons that there are potentially harmful ingredients on the premises. Some food items will be more obvious than others—i.e. serving shellfish at a seafood restaurant—but if you serve specialty dishes, alert your customers early.
Use Your Menu to Educate
Your menu is the perfect venue to give your patrons a detailed list of all the ingredients you use. Don’t assume everyone knows what goes into a Bolognese sauce or French onion soup. Proudly list your ingredients using easy-to-identify symbols. Don’t use foreign words to describe a common allergen, or if you must name an ingredient in another language, include a disclaimer that plainly says what sort of ingredients your menu items contain.
Be Honest & Upfront
As certified food handlers, your serving staff should be aware of the dangers of lack of food safety. That is to say, they should know how important it is to be honest and upfront with your guests. When naming daily specials, make sure they alert their customers of all potentially harmful ingredients and give them enough time to ask your servers questions about the menu.
Round out your food safety course with the Allergen Course from Probe It. Sign up today!