Why take a food safety course?
One of the primary concerns in the catering industry should be to ensure that food preparation and retailing does not pose a risk to the customer.
For people who suffer from a food allergy eating out can be potentially hazardous, if not life threatening, and a simple task like choosing a sandwich may entail reading the ingredients list several times to guarantee that there is no health risk. Even a tiny amount of the item that causes an allergic reaction could prove fatal in the worst cases.
Around ten people per year die from food allergy related deaths so it’s vital that all staff and management in a food related environment educate themselves about allergies by taking a food safety course with a firm like Food Alert, based in London.
Knowledge is power and it could make the difference between a pleasant eating experience and a visit from a paramedic to deliver an antidote, normally adrenaline.
Food safety training allows everyone in the preparation process to become more conscious of which foods are likely to cause allergic reactions and how they can make every reasonable effort in the premises to not cross contaminate food stuffs and cause an adverse health reaction.
What foods can people suffer allergies to?
The European Food Safety Authority monitors food allergens and controls which foods need to be labelled for food safety. These include:
- Foods containing gluten e.g. cereals and bread.
- Foods containing lupin e.g. some pastries, breads and pastas.
- Celery and celeriac.
- Sesame seeds.
- Sulphur dioxide/sulphites above 10mg/kg.
A food safety course will highlight particular foods and also the foods which people may consider safe from allergens. e.g. Dried fruit can contain sulphites and less expensive types of cornflakes actually have wheat i.e. gluten in them to bulk them out.
What are the signs of an allergic reaction?
While the strength of a reaction can vary dependant on the severity of the allergy common symptoms include:
- Anaphylactic shock.
- Itchy or sore eyes.
- A swollen throat.
- Itchy or sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Swollen lips.
- A rash.
- Runny/blocked nose.
- Tight chest.
Staff knowing how to behave within a food environment could save a customer from a great deal of distress. That’s why food safety courses help enormously with allergies. Staff can be confident that they are doing all that they can to make eating out, buying and enjoying food as possible for people with allergies as for people without them.
A sobering thought is that a number of serious reactions occur in people who didn’t realise that they had an allergy.
Please ensure that staff and management are one step ahead of an allergy by acting safely.
Food safety training could save someone’s life.