The Basics of Food Allergies

Food allergies are on the rise, and all food service staff and owners should be concerned and prepared to serve those with special dietary needs.  Below, we break down some of the basics on the proper response and how to serve these loyal diners.  Training with the AllerTrain Suite of Courses  and ongoing training as in AllerSTAR are a few of the basics  for serving success for these customers.  Additional tools, such as food allergy posters in English or Spanish and AllerCards, can be found in the AllerTrain Store. Emergency 1st Response? Always begin by asking a guest who appears … Continue reading

Milk: Am I allergic or intolerant?

What are the differences and similarities? Everyone has heard of one of the most common intolerances: lactose, but do you know that a milk allergy and lactose intolerant are actually different? When doing a google search “Milk allergy vs lactose intolerance” the first article that popped up is from January 2012, but this is still an issue today and it’s important to at least know the facts. So what are the main differences and similarities?   What is lactose intolerance? Lactose intolerance is one of the most common intolerances/ sensitivities in America today. Lactose intolerance is a digestive system reaction … Continue reading

Announcing the Winners of the AllerTrain Food Allergy Awards!

Over the years AllerTrain has had the privilege of working with incredible people from all over the food industry. With this massive database of hard working, passionate people we had to find a way to shine the spotlight! It’s nearly impossible these days to find a restaurant or University dining hall that hasn’t encountered a guest with a food allergy or intolerance. About 15 million Americans have food allergies making it crucial now more than ever for training and awareness in food service establishments. There are so many outstanding brands, schools and individuals who are dedicated to just that: food … Continue reading

Top Food Allergy for Kids: a closer look into peanuts

The rise in peanut allergies in recent years is undeniable. To protect children, some schools have separate lunch tables in the cafeterias made especially for peanut-free zones while others are going completely peanut free.  Restaurants and fast casual chains are adjusting their menus and creating new labels to warn the public of peanuts contained in certain food items. Everyone who has walked into a Five Guys may have noticed the new signs alerting their guests that they offer peanuts in bulk, open case containers. This concern has greatly affected parents as well. Peanuts are now considered the number one food … Continue reading

Food Allergy Legislation- Montgomery County, MD

Montgomery County restaurants are preparing for a new mandate that goes into effect on July 1st, 2017. This mandate requires one person at all times to be trained in allergy safety through an ANSI accredited course.  The safety of diners in Montgomery County, Maryland is being supported and as of July 1st those with food allergies can rest assured that measures are being taken to further enhance their dining experience! AllerTrain by Menutrinfo offers a suite of courses available both online and through live training. While some small businesses only need 1-2 people trained and can do so online, others … Continue reading

ANSI- What’s the Big Deal?

The AllerTrain U course has been added to our growing list of ANSI accredited food allergy and gluten-free training courses, along with AllerTrain and AllerTrain Lite. The AllerTrain Suite of Courses is already unique for offering courses that cater to various food service sectors, and for our ability to deliver these courses through multiple platforms. We are multi-faceted and can accommodate clients in whatever way is best for them.  Achieving ANSI accreditation for the AllerTrain, AllerTrain Lite and now AllerTrain U courses, sets us on an entirely different level than our competitors. To us, this is a big deal, but … Continue reading

Required Restaurant Allergen Training: Wave of the future?

Legislation recently passed in Montgomery County, Maryland, mandating that all restaurant shifts include at least one allergy safety-trained employee has had its share of both positive and negative reviews. But, the fact is that the legislation will kick into effect this July 1 and — like it or not — restaurants there must be ready. That’s why the Maryland County Department of Health and Human Services is supporting the move by providing area restaurants with lists of approved online and in-person food allergy training courses. The reality also is that though many jurisdictions nationally may not yet have similar regulations, all food … Continue reading

Undeclared Allergens

Undeclared Allergens are a major cause of food allergy recalls, that have been on a notable increase since 2011. Reported food allergic reactions do underscore a public health concern, and this is not limited to the Big 8. The root causes of undeclared allergen recalls suggest that most are not for simply a trace amount of the allergen. During the research for this blog, I noticed that there have been 75 recalls from February to April of this year. Of those 75, 33 were due to undeclared allergens, 22 due to listeria, and 20 due to other causes such as … Continue reading

Setting the Bar

As a food safety professional focused on allergens, I see a lot of products and operations. One operation that I had the pleasure of visiting recently has set the bar, in my opinion, for gluten and allergen free cooking and baking. Allie’s GF Goodies in Hicksville, NY is an amazing bakery that is doing a lot of things right in the field of allergen / gluten- free baking. Allison Wolin Luckman has been working on “creative eating” for quite a while. The change came from not only her own needs, but also those of her children, after watching them being … Continue reading

What’s the Hysteria About Listeria?

You need not dig into the news today to read about Listeria and the dangerous effects that is has on people, especially those who are pregnant, elderly and those that are immuno-suppressed. Most recently, there was a recall for Colby and Colby Jack Deli Cheeses sold by Meijer stores. This product was sold from November 10, 2016 to February 9, 2017. Deli meats and cheeses are food stuffs that have a high risk for contamination from Listeria. What causes listeriosis? Listeriosis is food poisoning that is caused by eating foods that are contaminated with the bacteria, (L. monocytogenes). Listeria is … Continue reading

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me…..

Have you ever sung the Happy Birthday song to yourself?  If you have while washing your hands, you are in the minority, as researchers at Michigan State University found that only 5 percent of people wash their hands properly. If you are like me, you find this statistic very concerning. They also found that 15 percent of men didn’t wash their hands at all. During my travels across the country, I am sad to say that this seems to be true. Why don’t people wash their hands? The top three reasons stated are the use of hand sanitizer, no soap, … Continue reading

Office Holiday Parties- 5 tips for keeping them food allergy friendly

Tis the season for eating, baking and indulging in your favorite holiday recipes and treats. Gingerbread, fruit cake, pies and cookies galore set the stage for the time of year laced with sugar and gluten. For those living with life threatening food allergies, intolerances or celiac disease this time of year calls for heightened food security and personal safety surrounding their health. Many traditional holiday foods may not be an option for these individuals, and determining what is safe to eat at the annual office holiday party can be difficult for them if clear communication is not present. Help your … Continue reading

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