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CDC Study Looks At Food Allergy Practices in Restaurants

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a study looking into the food allergy practices of restaurants across the U.S. The study says that almost half of all food allergy reactions over the past 13 years were caused by restaurant food. The report found that less than half of the restaurant staff personnel surveyed had received food allergen training.

The 278 participating restaurants in the study had high compliance with food allergy warnings and labeling on menus, but often had staff members who were not versed in food allergies. Even fewer had separate food preparation areas specifically for allergen-free dishes.

Among 211 food workers surveyed, 86 had received food allergen training while working at their restaurants.

That's fewer than 41 percent of restaurant workers who've received food allergy training on the job. Servers were even less likely to have received food allergy training at just 33 percent of respondents. An astonishing 25 percent of restaurants did not have food allergen or ingredients lists on their menus.

“The findings in this report suggest that there is considerable opportunity for restaurants to improve their practices to prevent allergic reactions among their patrons with food allergies. The 2013 Food and Drug Administration Food Code (5), which provides the basis for state and local codes that regulate retail food service, recommends that the person-in-charge (i.e., the manager) be knowledgeable about food allergies. Managers are also responsible for ensuring that employees are properly trained in food safety, including food allergy awareness.”

Source: Restaurant Food Allergy Practices Radke TJ, Brown LG, Faw B, et al. Restaurant Food Allergy Practices — Six Selected Sites, United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:404–407.

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