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National Restaurant Association - Food Allergy Awareness Week advocates education

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Food Allergy Awareness Week advocates education

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About 12 million people in the United States — that's 1 in 25 — live with food allergies, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. Like other Americans, they love to dine out.

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 8-14), which aims to promote food allery awareness.

Food allergy reactions can be life-threatening, which is why it's important to educate restaurant employees on how to accommodate guests with food allergies.

There is no cure for food allergies. Complete avoidance is the only way to precent a reaction. When preparing food for an allergic guest, special care must be taken to prevent cross-contact with that ingredient in the kitchen — it's not enough to simply pick it off a dish.

Guests with food allergies are encouraged to communicate openly and clearly with restaurant staff so they understand guest have allergies, not personal preferences. That way they can take proper precautions to protect guests.

The National Restaurant Association worked with FAAN to create a training guide for restaurant employees. "Welcoming Guests with Food Allergies" is available online for free.

In addition, the Association's ServSafe Food Safety training program includes information on the most common food allergens (milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) and how to handle food preparation for guests with food allergies.

The theme for this year's Food Allergy Awareness Week is “Be a FAAN Hero,” focusing on community efforts to practice safe food allergy management and avoid potentially life-threatening reactions among the 3 million American kids with food allergies.

More information, including sample presentations for schools and businesses, can be found at www.foodallergy.org.

 

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