September 28, 2022

Know your food allergens

Food allergens can cause dangerous reactions; make sure your staff knows how to serve customers with allergies.
Fish, eggs, fruit, and nuts

When serving guests with food allergies, make sure you tell them exactly how each dish is made and include any special ingredients if there are any. If you aren’t sure, ask a manager for assistance.

In this last week of National Food Safety Month, ServSafe's FoodSafetyFocus wants you and your restaurant employees to know the nine foods that cause the most common food allergies and how to serve customers who may have sensitivities to specific foods. In the Week 5 blog post, you can find a "Know Your Food Allergens" poster in a .pdf file that you can download and share with staff in digital format, or print and post in your restaurant. 

The poster reminds employees that the nine most common sources of food allergies are:

  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Crustacean shellfish
  • Sesame
  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Tree nuts

The poster also lets staff know that the best way to serve customers with food allergies is:

  • Tell the customer exactly how each dish is made and include any special ingredients. If you aren’t sure, ask a manager.
  • Suggest menu items that do not contain the allergen. 
  • Identify the allergen special order on your order ticket and tell kitchen staff—including expediters who garnish dishes—about the allergy. Hand deliver the allergen special order to the guest separate from other food to prevent cross-contamination. 
  • If cross-contact occurs, DO NOT serve the contaminated dish to the customer. Set it aside and ask your manager for assistance.

Thanks to our NFSM sponsors Ecolab and Tork for making these materials possible.  To download the poster or for more information, visit National Food Safety Month.