The number of Americans with food allergies is astounding. Recent reports show that roughly 32 million Americans have food allergies and that number is growing. Food allergies are serious and potentially life-threating. Seeking to shed light on the importance of food allergy awareness, the second week of May has been designated as Food Allery Awareness Week and the entire month has been dubbed Food Allergy Action Month.
At La Prima Food Group, we take food allergies seriously every day. We have designed a menu to accommodate the various allergies without compromising taste or presentation. Our website is also designed to allow people to order with their allergies in mind. Here are some ways we work to keep our clients safe from food allergen risks:
Internal Food Allergen Awareness
We ensure that all of our team members are well aware of whether or not a menu item contains any of the “Big Eight” allergens. Each of our recipes notates the inclusion of milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and/or shellfish. These recipes are easily accessible to all of our team members so food allergy related questions can be answered quickly!
Cross Contact vs. Cross Contamination
When it comes to discussing food allergens, we use the phrase “cross contact” NOT “cross contamination.” In food safety jargon, “cross contamination” refers to pathogens that are characteristically dangerous and can cause food borne illness. Foods that cause allergic reactions are not inherently dangerous, thus a different phrase is required.
Anytime a client has a guest with a food allergy, we make every effort to ensure workspaces and equipment are cleaned and sanitized so that no cross contact is made between that guest’s meal and the food they are allergic to.
When in Doubt, Stick to Single Ingredient Foods
Hidden allergens are most often found in processed foods, so if there is ever a doubt, we suggest sticking to single ingredient foods. With an extensive menu, we can always find a dish that will satisfy any food allergy!
When we encounter a food allergy, we ask questions. If someone is allergic to soy, we ask if they are also allergic to soy oil. Many times, someone who is allergic to soy does not have a reaction to highly refined soy oil since it does not contain soy proteins. Find out more information about soy allergies here .
We have found that when it comes to food allergies, the person with the allergy is often the best source for determining a suitable meal and sometimes, the better question is “what can you eat?” rather than “what are you allergic to?”.
Whether you’re planning a large event or ordering a small lunch for the office, our team members are happy to walk you through menu planning to ensure you’re covered for any of your guest’s food allergies.