Get ahead of the game on food allergens

food allergens in kitchens

Taking responsibility for food allergens

Customers with allergies need accurate information about the food they are eating and also the reassurance that cross contamination is being managed properly.

As a food business operator you need to:

  • Know which food you serve or sell contains the 14 food allergens 
  • Consider the potential for cross-contamination, and
  • put in place practical allergen management controls to keep customers safe. 

Food Businesses need to comply with the Food Information regulations and  take responsibility for allergens. This will help your staff to get it right and to avoid cross contamination happening and making customers ill you should: 

  • Put in place and monitor food allergen controls at each step of food production  
  • Review and revise information when things change
  • Have a procedure for preparing food for customers with food allergies and put up these rules in the kitchen for staff to refer to
  • Train all your staff from the kitchen porter to the executive chef  in food allergen awareness
  • Provide accurate and up to date allergen information in a food allergen matrix
  • Check food  allergen signage and food  allergen labelling is available and correct
  • Check cleaning and handwashing is being done correctly to help manage food allergens

Roles and responsibilities of kitchen staff in food allergen management

To keep customers safe kitchen staff need good food handling practices of food allergens including managing cross contamination. They need to know what is in the food they are producing so they can produce accurate food allergen information. And finally be able to have conversations about allergens so they can pass accurate information to front of house and managers.

Consider putting in place the following allergen management controls at each step in the production of food in your business. And write it down in your Food Safety Management System so staff can refer to it. 

Top tips:

  • write these controls down  in your food safety management system.[Safer Foods Better Business]
  • include them in your weekly management check so you can keep an eye on where or when things aren’t going to plan so you can do something about it. 
  • communicate to your staff regularly during formal or on the job training 

Delivery

  • Using approved suppliers
  • Checking ingredient labels on delivery
  • Rejecting  substitutions and changes to products ordered if allergen information not provided
  • Rejecting of unapproved products or those with missing labels
  • Rejecting split packs
  • Buying last minute items only from supermarkets 
  • Obtaining allergen matrices from suppliers
  • Making sure food is separated during transport to avoid cross contamination

Storage

  • Labeling loose or decanted ingredients with food allergens
  • Cleaning up spillages promptly
  • Using dedicated containers for allergens and clean thoroughly between uses
  • Storing allergens in lidded/sealed containers
  • Ensuring all products adequately covered/wrapped during storage.

Preparation

  • Only using standard recipes 
  • Updating allergen information for daily specials and if a recipe or  ingredient changes
  • Preparing dishes for customers with food allergies in a dedicated or separate part of the kitchen
  • Wearing protective clothing e.g. gloves/aprons
  • Washing hands thoroughly before preparing food for customers with food allergies
  • Correct labelling of allergens on prepacked for Direct Sale food

Cooking

  • Checking cooking oils for allergens
  • Labelling oil containers
  • Unsing a dedicated fryer for either allergenic or non-allergenic products and labelling it
  • Using spill trays under dishes
  • Storing non-allergenic products above food allergens in the oven
  • Using dedicated/colour coded utensils
  • Using dedicated probes.

Special Care/Service

  • Taking care with food allergens used as casual garnishes (for example chopped nuts, eggs, prawns)
  • Not placing food  allergens and non-allergens placed onto same serving dishes (buffets etc.)
  • Labelling plated food with allergens if stored prior to service
  • Holding a staff meeting prior to service to pass on  ingredient/menu changes
allergen management

Ultimate Beginner to Pro Food Allergens Webinar

If you want to learn more about food  allergens to keep your customers safe, then make sure that you book on my allergen webinar on 11th April 2022 

For more information hit the button below.

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