I recently received an email regarding cross contact. The definition of cross contact is when an allergen is inadvertently transferred from a food containing an allergen, to a food that does not contain the allergen.
Cross contact can lead to severe allergic reactions at home, school, or any place that a meal is prepared. Here are five tips for reducing the probability of cross contact while dining out.
Sandwich Preparation Restaurants
Many restaurants make quick and delicious sandwiches that are prepared right in front of your eyes. Unfortunately, if the proper protocols are not followed, cross contact can occur.
Advice: I always ask the employees to change their gloves, lay down a new sheet of paper for the sandwich, and grab a clean knife. Additionally, I also ask them to make my sandwich on a separate surface that is away from my allergens. That leaves less room for error, as every utensil used is fresh and clean.
Fryers at Restaurants
As popular as fried options may be, they can become a dilemma for food allergic people, especially when a kitchen operates with only a single fryer. This leads to all fried options being cooked in the same oil as fish and shellfish.
Advice: When I order fried food, I alert the wait staff about my allergens, and ask if the fryers share oil with fish or shellfish. If the restaurant is unable to accommodate, I pick another item.
If fried foods are not an option, many restaurants are able to produce a dish that is both delicious and safe for most dietary restrictions. Sadly, certain allergens can be cooked on the same grill as your dish. Residue can be left from those allergens that were prepared on the grill. Although, safe alternatives can be produced!
Advice: If you or someone you know has allergies but wants to order a grilled item, all you have to do is ask the chef to prepare your meal in a sterilized pan. Your meal is now allergy-safe!
Another tip for eating out is to look at the restaurant’s online allergy menu. Chick-Fil-A lists the allergens in their food, and how they handle cross contact. Chick-Fil-A is a suitable option for those with allergies to Tree Nuts, Fish, and Shellfish. In-N-Out Burger clearly states that they can accommodate for almost all food allergies. Culver’s also has an allergy menu, and unfortunately they say that they cannot guarantee that their food does not come into contact with any allergens.
Advice: While looking at allergy menus is important, I strongly recommend that you inform the cashier about your allergies each time you place an order.
MyTealTicket is designed to help you have an enjoyable dining experience. It includes a feature to reduce the risk of cross contact. There is a box labeled “Cross Contact” that is not only available to check mark, but also gives an explanation of the procedures that need to take place in order to give you a safe dining experience!
I hope that this article helps you navigate the waters of cross contact! What are some of the strategies that you use?
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