As a ServSafe Food Manager it’s important that the staff be familiar with your allergy action plan. While most food service workers know about food allergies and feel they can accommodate customers with allergies who visit their establishment, educational gaps occur in some facilities concerning how allergies work and what to do in an emergency situation. The CDC recently conducted a study seeking to find how much restaurant staff actually knew about the topic and came up with some interesting findings.
Allergy Action Plans and the ServSafe Food Manager
One illuminating fact this study shows is that allergies are more common than many ServSafe food managers realize. One in 13 children suffers from some form of food allergy, while one in 25 adults must avoid certain foods. The severity of reaction varies from person to person, but some react by coming into contact with allergens without even ingesting the ingredient.
Since some of these reactions cause severe distress, and possibly death if emergency help does not arrive in time, having a plan in place prepares your staff to deal with guests with allergies. Some things you should teach your employees include:
- What common allergens exist in your facility
- Some customers cannot consume even small amount of certain items
- How to react if a guest has a reaction
Knowledge helps keep your guests safe. Some of your patrons will not be able to consume common items such as nuts, dairy or shellfish. Teaching your cooks and service staff how these ingredients are used can help steer guests away from certain dishes.
If a guest has a reaction, get help immediately. Some reactions happen from minor contact and should not be waited out to see if the guest recovers. Call 911, and if a guest wears an allergy alert bracelet relay that information so that emergency responders can be prepared.
Integrate allergy training to make sure your staff feels confident in serving diners with allergies. Some outlets nominate one or two employees, one of them their designated ServSafe food manager, to receive extra training and pass that knowledge on to staff members and personally handle guests questions about allergens on the menu.
Do you have an allergy action plan? If so, feel free to share in the comment section below.