The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published a new study today which concluded that “the prevalence and severity of childhood food allergy is greater than previously reported.” Some six million children in the U.S. have food allergies, and almost 40 percent of food allergy reactions are “severe.”
Although there is some research indicating that a novel food processing method may reduce peanut allergenicity, until there is a highly-effective treatment or cure for food allergies, food-allergic consumers must avoid foods that cause their reactions.
When accommodating a food-allergic consumer, restaurants may want to consider whether their staff are aware of not just the potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, but also some persistent myths about food allergies. Troublingly, some people believe that eating just a little bit of an allergic food may be okay, or that cooking makes a food less allergenic.
Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 8-14, 2011.
Have you considered whether this is an opportunity for your restaurant to reach out to the community of food-allergic consumers? If not, why not? Food-allergic consumers are loyal, repeat customers. Restaurants that accommodate them can grow their business.
Perhaps your staff are not sufficiently trained to handle requests from allergic customers? The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and the National Restaurant Association published Welcoming Guests with Food Allergies, a free guide to help restaurants train staff to serve food safely to their food-allergic patrons.
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network provides a form where you can sign up to receive email notifications about manufacturers recalling foods that may contain undisclosed allergens. Notices pertain to the top eight food allergens.