The Color Purple

How kitchens safely cook with allergens

Approximately 15 million people in the United States have food allergies. More people now than ever before require a specially prepared meal when dining out. Those affected with a food allergy know that ingesting even trace amounts of their allergen can cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock). Luckily, restaurateurs, foodservice professionals and kitchen staff are stepping up to the plate and taking these allergies seriously. Those who can safely serve guests with special needs are taking proper steps to ensure every diner is taken care of with the utmost respect.

The color purple was introduced to offer awareness in kitchens and avoid cross-contact and cross-contamination at every opportunity. Everything from purple cutting boards to purple utensils have been created to spark an industry-wide awareness. Pairing purple kitchen tools with in-depth training has allowed food service professionals to better serve guests with special dietary restrictions. What is cross-contact and what are some of the tools available? Read on to learn more about the best way to arm your kitchen.

What is cross-contact?
Cross-contact is when an allergen is introduced to an allergen-free food. Basically, if you place a chicken breast on a cutting board that was just used for cutting fish (and not cleaned properly), your chicken breast has now come in contact with fish and is not safe for a diner who has a fish allergy.

What are some examples of original purple kitchen tools available?
1. Purple cutting boards
2. Purple handled knives
3. Purple handled tongs

What are some examples of full purple kits that are available now?
1. Allergen Baking Kit (this kit includes purple baking pans, purple coated handles on tongs and spatulas, etc.)
2. Allergen Cooking Kit (this kit includes purple frying pans, purple knives, purple cutting boards, purple thermometers, etc.)

Pairing purple kitchen preparation tools with awareness and separate prep areas is key to ensuring safety. Providing back of house safe preparation spaces/ zones and specific allergen free utensils offers assurance to diners and confidence to kitchen personnel. Color-coding is a quick, surefire way to differentiate between utensils and avoid cross-contact. When handled correctly, these tools are all washed and sanitized properly and are stored in separate areas to avoid issues throughout their lifespan in the kitchen.

The goal of the color purple is to aid kitchen staff in their preparation of an allergy-free meal, to ensure the diner is able to eat their meal without any risk of a reaction. The color purple has been a great support to kitchens across America. While purple utensils are not required, those who have implemented them in their back of house procedures have found the benefits to be extremely valuable!

Sources:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/more-purple-allergen-food-intolerance-safety-than-meets-bowe
http://blog.hubert.com/create-allergen-awareness-zone/
https://www.foodallergy.org/file/home-food-safety.pdf

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