Happy National Food Safety Month, everyone! September 2013 has been designated by the National Restaurant Association as a month to spotlight the awareness of food allergens, which can help restaurants that are concerned about keeping their restaurant equipment safe for those with food allergies. National Food Safety Month was created in 1994 to increase the awareness of the importance of food safety in kitchens everywhere. Previous spotlights have included hygiene and general food handling safety. This month, to get the word out this month about food safety with allergens, the National Restaurant Association has prepared activities and information covering everything from cross-contact to food transportation. To get your staff, students, or family involved, check out the National Food Safety Month website.
Cross-contact was the focus of this week of National Food Safety Month. Cross-contact on restaurant equipment in the kitchen can be a big concern for restaurants that want to be friendly to those with food allergies. Here are some easy things you can do in your kitchen with your restaurant equipment to prevent cross-contamination for customers with food allergies.
• Be careful to use separate restaurant equipment and utensils if you are preparing food for a customer with an allergy.
• If you can’t use separate equipment, clean the preparation surface thoroughly before making a dish for a customer with a food allergy.
• Store foods that could contain allergens in containers separate from other foods.
• Wash and dry hands thoroughly before preparing a dish for a guest with an allergy.
• Designate specific pieces of restaurant equipment (like blenders, for example) as “nut-free” or “dairy-free.” Label it and make sure your staff knows that it’s available for food prep.