In On The Menu’s eight years of nutrition consulting for restaurants we have seen a dramatic growth in the demand for allergen-/gluten-free restaurant meals. Making sure meals are free of allergens and gluten has added to the restaurant industry’s food safety concerns. The first step we take at On The Menu is to identify allergens and gluten contained in the restaurant food. We use our proprietary software, TAG—Tracking Allergens and Gluten in restaurant foods, to identify allergens, gluten, and food sensitivities in every ingredient and recipe. While this is the best first line of defense, safely preparing and serving the foods is equally important. Allergen-/gluten-free foods are no longer “free” when they come into contact with the offending food. It’s imperative that the restaurant staff takes precautions to avoid cross contact. We have summed up what we believe are the five best ways to avoid gluten cross contact.
Avoid Gluten Cross Contact in a Restaurant Kitchen
- Wash hands, equipment, and work surfaces thoroughly with soapy water and friction. Use clean water, dish rags and towels when doing so.
- Use fresh, clean water or oil when cooking foods that are steamed, boiled, poached or fried. Do not reuse cooking water or oil when preparing allergen-/gluten-free foods.
- When using condiments, spreads and sauces, such as mayonnaise, margarine, salsa or peanut butter, select new or allergen-/gluten-free designated containers that have had no exposure to gluten/allergen containing foods and their utensils. Thoroughly wash and sanitize containers before refilling.
- When cooking in ovens or on grills, put down aluminum foil or use clean pots or pans to avoid contact with the surface. Also, use separate and clean utensils, for example, when flipping meat.
- If cross contact occurs, remake the entire order. Don’t just remove the offending food, instead start fresh. A common source of gluten contamination in a restaurant is from salads. It’s not uncommon for a server to simply remove the croutons from a previously made salad, rather than making one fresh without contact from croutons.
TAG Dining System™
If you’re unsure if your restaurant is taking the proper precautions to safely serve guests with food allergies and sensitivities we provide allergen training for restaurants, as well as, allergen labeling. Following our TAG Dining System™ you can serve your guests with food allergies and sensitivities with confidence. Pam Friedentag, Director of Sales and Marketing at Beau Jo’s Pizza and a satisfied customer of On The Menu’s TAG Dining System™ says, “Thanks to On The Menu’s recommendations, we have found an increased appreciation and loyalty from our customers, new customers and a substantial increase in our bottom line.”
Allergen Training and Nutrition Consulting for Restaurants
On The Menu is here to help you with all of your allergen training and nutrition consulting needs. Our services range from nutrient analysis to menu labeling to gluten and allergen tracking and training; we always stay on top of the scientific data your business needs. Call us at 303.757.1333 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.