Millions of people worldwide suffer from food allergies, and that number does not appear to be dwindling anytime soon. Food allergies range from mild to extreme. Some food allergies are so severe that sufferers are sent into anaphylactic shock if they are exposed to the food allergen. Even being in the room as a food allergen can be enough for some to react, while others have to consume the food to have a reaction. While consumers need to be vigilant about protecting themselves, restaurants, cafes and convenience stores must protect their customers with proper food labels.
There are strict requirements in place regarding the need for the food industry to include allergen labels on their products. While it is easy to refrain from using food allergens in food products, it becomes tricky when considering cross-contamination.
If kitchen equipment is not sanitised between ingredients and recipes, if fryer oil is not regularly changed, if certain foods are not prepared in nut-free or gluten-free facilities and employees are not following proper food safety procedures, food products may not be safe for individuals with food allergies.
For instance, an individual with a severe nut allergy will not be able to consume any products that are manufactured in the same facility as one that produces nut products. Proper protocols should always be followed by food handlers and servers. If a food allergy cannot be accommodated, it is up to the restaurant or foodservice operation to communicate that to allergy sufferers.
Consumers with food allergies must be vigilant about reading food labels.
The food industry can make this task much easier with well-organised labels. In the back-of-the-house, allergens can be easily recognized by employees by using Allergen Alert labels. These labels have tick boxes to easily note if a dish contains any allergens. Additionally, the Date Code Genie® is centrally managed software that is a perfect piece of equipment to add to your kitchen. Operators can easily customise labels to be printed by the Date Code Genie’s thermal printer. Potential food allergens and nutritional information is easily added to the labels so that consumers can make the right choice when making purchases.