By Vince Tinajero
Did you know that with the recent adoption by Maricopa County’s Department of Environmental Health of the FDA 2009 Food Code, according to section 2-102.11, food establishments should have a person in charge during all hours of operation that is knowledgeable about major food allergens, cross-contamination, and symptoms of an allergic reaction? Section 2-103.11 of the code further states that the person-in-charge should ensure that employees are properly trained in food safety issues, including food allergy awareness, as it is related to their assigned duties..
Food allergies affect about 2% of adults and 4-8% of children in the Unites States, and the number of young people with food allergies has increased over the last decade (CDC). Training and educating personnel is essential to keep your patrons safe, happy, and coming back to your establishment. Failure to keep your patrons food safe during the preparation and serving of their meal could have deadly results and ruin your establishment.
As I mentioned training and educating your employees are key. Proper Allergen training needs to start with the basics. Being able to answer the following questions correctly will ensure that you have the knowledge to safely serve your patrons with food allergies:
1. What is a food Allergy?
2. What are the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction?
3. What are the 8 major food allergens?
4. How do I keep my patrons meal allergen-free throughout the flow of food?
5. How do I respond if someone does have an allergic reaction in my establishment?
At the next meeting of the ACF of Arizona on August 6, 2012 we will be discussing these questions and many more to help you train you and your employees on allergen awareness.
Vince Tinajero is the owner of Arizona Food Safety Professionals. He is also an Adjunct Instructor at Estrella Mountain Community College – Culinary Arts Department in Avondale, Arizona. For more information on training you can go to www.AZFoodPro.com.
For more information on allergens you can go to the FDA’s website at www.FDA.gov or the The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) www.FAAN.org