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Food Allergy Knowledge Gaps

Although many employees working in the food industry undergo basic training in food allergies, there has been a significant knowledge gap in what they actually understand about food allergies. According to a study by the Journal of Foodservice Business Research, of the 80% of staff that receive food allergy training, many illustrated significant failures to identify key information about food allergies.

Misconceptions About Food Allergies

There are several misconceptions about food allergies that can put your patrons at risk when dining at your establishment. According to the study, here is where the gaps in knowledge were primarily found:

  • Unable to identify fish and soy as top allergens
  • Did not know that arachis oil is the same as peanut oil
  • Believed that removing the allergen from the plate would make it safe
  • Believed medicine could cure allergy
  • Thought a food allergy and food intolerance were the same thing

These small misunderstandings may be to blame for the allergic reactions in 22% of the participant’s restaurants. Allergic reactions not only put patrons in grave danger, but also put the restaurant at risk for being sued.

Importance of Food Allergy Training

Training is difficult in the food industry with conflicting schedules, high turnover rates, and a lack of interest amongst both restaurant management and staff. However, it is vital to your business’ health that employees and management are thoroughly trained in food allergies as a part of the onboarding process for new employees. Understanding the severity of food allergies can literally be the difference between life and death for your patrons.

Protect Your Patrons and Your Business

Here are some tips for protecting both your patrons and your business when it comes to food allergies.

  • Properly Label Your Menu: Menu items should include disclaimers about ingredients and have allergens clearly labeled.
  • Train Staff: Management and staff should know what food allergies are, how to identify allergens, and how to handle patrons with allergies.
  • Learn the signs of someone having an allergic reaction
  • Know how to respond to a patron with food allergies (call 911 and assist them in any way possible)

Restaurant Liability Insurance

Last, but certainly not least, it is vital your restaurant has protection. Even the most careful restaurant may have a slip up in food allergens putting the restaurant at risk for a lawsuit. With Restaurant Liability insurance, your establishment will be protected against accidents ranging from a slip and fall to an allergic reaction. This will provide legal protection to your establishment, even if you are found liable in the court.

RPA is unique because we focus solely on insurance for the food service industry. We know restaurants, fast-food establishments, diners and bars like the back of our hand. This allows us to help you to secure the right restaurant insurance for what your business requires – nothing more and nothing less.