Why is Food Safety Important For Your Business? Part 2
Part 2: Allergic Reactions
As discussed in the previous blog post, if your business is providing food to the general public, it is your moral obligation to ensure that the food you’re serving is safe. Food safety is not only a moral, but legal obligation.
In this blog post, we will be specifically looking at allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. Next month, we will approach another topic related to food safety.
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system responds abnormally to common substances such as certain foods, pollen and dust. The immune system treats the substances found in food as a threat and as a result, a number of chemicals are released. It's these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
For food related allergies, these substances are otherwise known as allergens. Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be very serious. Symptoms of a food allergy can affect different areas of the body at the same time. Some common symptoms include:
- Itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
- Itchy red rash
- Swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
In the most serious cases, a person can have a severe allergic reaction to food (this is called anaphylaxis) which can be life threatening. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are:
• Breathing difficulties
• Trouble swallowing or speaking
• Feeling dizzy or faint
It is crucial to seek immediate medical help if you see someone suffering these symptoms, as there is only a matter of time before the anaphylactic shock can lead to a fatality. Studies show that the majority of these allergic reactions occur in public facilities, which means that some restaurants are still falling behind when it comes to allergen management. To protect your customers from life-threatening allergic reactions, everyone who works in your business must:
• Know the common food allergens
• Understand that food allergies can be life-threatening and must be taken seriously
• Understand how cross-contamination can occur and how to prevent it
• Understand the importance of communicating with the customer, employees and management to ensure all measures are taken to prepare a safe meal
• Know how to recognise the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction
• Know what to do in an emergency
You can avoid allergic reactions by implementing a food safety culture within your business. Why not start right away?
Stay tuned for the next month’s topic related the importance of food safety for your business.