There are many people who have food allergies that range from sensitivity to life-threatening. While it can be fairly easy for people with food allergies to make any necessary adjustments when they are at home, traveling can bring a number of difficult issues to the forefront. In today’s post, we’ll look at some ways that you can help to ensure that your hotel avoids cross-contact of food during meal preparation.

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Cross-Contact vs. Cross-Contamination

Cross-contact happens when one food comes in contact with another food, which causes their proteins to mix. At this point, both foods contain small amounts of the other food, but the amounts are generally so small that they can’t be seen with the naked eye.

  • Cross-contamination has a more negative connotation as it refers to bacteria or viruses that get into food, which makes the food unsafe for anyone to eat. Cooking food that has cross-contamination can lower the chances of a person becoming ill, but it is still best to dispose of this food.
  • Unfortunately for guests with food allergies, cooking will not eliminate the allergen from the cross-contact food. The only way they can eat a meal without having a reaction is for you to ensure that their food was prepared completely free of contact with the allergen-causing food, and that all items that came into contact with their meal were carefully cleaned and sterilized.

Sensitivity vs. Life-Threatening

As a hotel, you want to be sure to provide food that is safe for all of your guests to eat. It’s important to understand the difference between allergies that cause a person to be more sensitive to certain types of food and allergies that can cause life-threatening reactions.

Food sensitivity might temporarily diminish someone’s quality of life in a number of ways, including digestive problems, migraines, and sleeplessness.
Severe food allergies can cause strong reactions like anaphylactic shock within 24 hours. These reactions could be fatal if not treated immediately.

Food Preparation

Now that we’ve clarified the differences between cross-contact and cross-contamination, and food sensitivity and food allergies, let’s look at some tangible steps that your hotel can take to avoid cross-contact in the food you prepare for your guests.

  1. Sterilize all utensils, cutting boards, pots, and pans after they have been used. Ideally, you should use completely separate tools when preparing meals to ensure your guests’ safety.
  2. Prepare and serve allergy-safe foods first.
  3. Keep the safe foods covered and separate from the other foods to avoid splatter contact.
  4. If a mistake is made during the food preparation, do not serve with the other allergy-safe items since there is no way to undo the cross-contact.
  5. Scrub all counters and work-top areas with soap and hot water after food preparation is complete.

Ingredient Lists

It would be nice if preparing allergy-safe meals was as simple as reading the ingredient list, but unfortunately, this won’t work. In the U.S., only the top eight allergens have to be listed, which means that allergens like sesame seeds will generally not be included in the list. The top eight allergens include:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean Shellfish
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that you communicate clearly with your guests about their specific food allergies so that you can determine if the dish that is being prepared contains allergens that might affect them.

Your hotel may not be staffed with people who are completely knowledgeable about food allergies, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t provide the safe food that your guests depend on. Using the tips we provided today, you can greatly improve the level of safety and service that you offer all of your guests. When you partner with Source1 Purchasing, we can help you leverage our buying power, which will enable you to procure the services and items your hotel needs at amazing rates. Contact us today to get your free supply-chain analysis.

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