According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of children with food allergies doubled between 1997 and 2011, notes Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). This huge rise in the number of allergies caught many restaurants off-guard as they tried to adapt to the times, but an allergy-friendly restaurant saves you worries and attracts more customers. Here are ways to handle restaurant cleaning to make your dining room as safe and welcoming as possible.
Food Allergy Dangers
FARE notes that over 200,000 people visit the emergency room every year for food allergies. Restaurateurs have had to become increasingly prepared to safely accommodate patrons with these allergies. Some restaurants have even begun offering separate allergy-friendly menus.
Restaurant staff and management should be prepared for requests from people with food allergies and should be trained in how to respond to emergencies. As with other elements of food safety and cleanliness, the best defense against allergy cross-contact is keeping your kitchen clean at all times. Even the slightest amount of contact between the patron's meal and allergen particles can turn into an emergency.
Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Cleaning
The National Restaurant Association and other organizations offer formal training in food allergen awareness and cleaning. FARE highlights how important it is to understand the difference between cross-contamination, which usually refers to biological contaminates that cause foodborne illness, and cross-contact, which is when an allergen is transferred to a food that does not contain the allergen. Usually, thoroughly cooking food that has suffered from cross-contamination will eliminate the threat of illness, but cooking food that has suffered from cross-contact will not eliminate the allergen. The main goal therefore is to eliminate the possibility of dangerous proteins getting into areas of the kitchen that are expected to be free of certain foods. Grills where wheat and milk are cooked (such as in making French toast) are not safe unless a full cleaning has taken place before other foods are grilled.
This same approach is necessary for cutting boards, knives, containers, and other elements where foods and spices mingle in the kitchen. Without proper and thorough cleaning, there is a risk that someone with food allergies may have an attack in your restaurant. Some chefs have decided to use separate sets of cooking equipment in order to avoid the dangers associated with food allergies.
Caring for Your Clientele
Approaching food allergies with extreme care is a winning strategy from any point of view. Customers' health concerns will come first, reducing the risk of emergencies—and the legal trouble that comes with them—at your restaurant. Going out of your way to tell customers that you have an allergy-friendly restaurant will also make them feel appreciated and valued, something every dining establishment aspires to.
Kaivac has revolutionized restaurant cleaning, so avoiding cross-contact is easier than ever before. For the best approach to cleanliness, address food allergy concerns as you upgrade your cleaning system.
To learn more about restaurant cleaning with Kaivac's systems, click here.