What is food allergy and how to prevent it?

Food allergy is a reaction to certain food , that can cause symptoms from discomfort at its most mild form to even death if not treated immediately.

Food allergy is caused by a group of food items called allergens. While many items can cause allergy, these group of items are know to cause the maximum allergy among people.

What is food allergy and how to prevent it?

Speaker 1:  Good morning. Today, I am going to take a class on a very important topic. It is on food allergy, and the common food allergens.

Many people around the world have food allergies. An allergy is when the body reacts to something.

Speaker 2: I am allergic to peanuts. If i eat it i get rashes instantly.

Speaker 1: Yes peanuts are known to cause allergic reactions to some people. The main groups of allergens are milk and dairy products, egg and egg product, fish, shellfish, peanuts, some tree nuts, soy and products made out of soy, and sometimes even wheat based products.

When handling food with these products, we must be even more careful as these allergic reactions can even cause death in some people

Jay: What are the different allergic reactions chef? You mentioned people can die due to allergic reactions?

Speaker 1: You see the reaction can be different in different people. And yes some people may die due to this. But the common reaction are itching in and around mouth or face, swelling of face, hands or feet. Sometimes people can also have shortness of breath

Few other reaction can be vomiting, or diarrhoea. Loss of consciousness and death is also possible reaction

Speaker 3: So is there no remedy to this. Can we not prevent allergic reaction in any way?

Speaker1: Unfortunately while there are no remedies to this, there are a few things we can do

Some good employee practices are training the kitchen and service team can be helpful in prevention. In the case of food allergies, prevention is always better.

A good practice is to list down the allergens in every dish on the menu and then train the team on it. Also put those on the menu. If you do not know what goes into a dish, ask someone for help and tell the guest. Ask them to choose something else.

Edit: It is now a mandatory requirement in India as per the new FSSAI guidelines for hotels, that restaurants must mention the allergens and calorie per portion on the menu

Speaker 4: I have also seen food packages with message on it that says it may have been packaged, in a factory that process nuts.

Jay: Also in case we keep the equipment separate, can we avoid cross contamination

Speaker 1: Yes it is a good habit when preparing food for guest with allergies. May sure that your equipment and cookware are not used to process allergens and all table ware are allergen-free.

Also remember that when dealing with guest with allergies, there should be no secret ingredients in the dish. Be clear about what goes into the dish.

Food allergies can be serious, and we as professionals in food and beverage, must ensure that we take care while processing allergens. I hope you got clarity on the food allergens in this video

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