Food Allergies & What Can Chefs Do About It.
11-Year-Old Dies From ‘Mild’ Food Allergy
India, with a diverse and unique food culture, has acquired its own portfolio of allergens too. Granted, nuts and wheat and dairy and others can be a problem to south Asians, but research led by Professor Mahesh PA, Director at Allergy Asthma Associates in Mysore, India, has uncovered many others – with brinjal (aubergine), cucumber, lady’s finger (okra) and papaya among the most common foods causing clinical symptoms in population samples from Mysore City and from Bangalore.
With a population of well over a billion, food allergy could become an enormous problem in India. Some estimates suggest up to 3% of Indians may already have food allergies, the majority under 40 years of age. Food allergies cause roughly 30,000 emergency treatments and 100 to 200 deaths per year in the nation. Up to 3 million Indians may have peanut allergy alone.
It’s supposed to big in India too, not just the western world now.
According to Scientific India, here are the top food allergies in India:
2. Peanuts or groundnuts
5. Tree Nuts
9. Sesame (Til)
12. Fruits and Vegetables
source - http://www.scind.org/1237/Health/food-allergy-top-12-food-allergens-in-india.html
Symptoms, According to Mayo Clinic
For some people, an allergic reaction to a particular food may be uncomfortable but not severe. For other people, an allergic food reaction can be frightening and even life-threatening. Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food.
The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:
Tingling or itching in the mouth
Hives, itching or eczema
Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting
Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
In some people, a food allergy can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, including:
Constriction and tightening of the airways
A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, anaphylaxis can cause a coma or even death.
source - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20355095
Here is something that diners are doing
You can design your own chef card here
Are there any treatments for food allergy?
Currently, avoiding the food you are allergic to is the only way to protect against a reaction.
So what can Chefs Do?
Train Your Staff
Whenever someone's new, we show them the bible, like, look, this is how seriously we take this. So when you're prepping, if you're cutting peanuts on the board, you have to treat it like raw chicken. When anyone in this country cuts up raw chicken breast on a cutting board, what does that person do? They wash the shit out of everything. They wash their hands, they wash the board, they wash the knife, they wash the tongs, they freaking almost go take a shower, right?
You have to treat food allergies, the top 8, like that. So when you slice peanuts or shellfish or you're making ravioli on a board, now that board is contaminated. You have to wash the crap out of it like it had raw chicken juice. If everyone thought that way, it would be a no-brainer. You can't just take the cheese off a board and serve it back to a person with a cheese allergy. No. There's molecules of dairy on that. It can cause anaphylaxis.
2. Create An Allergy List for your dishes/ Menu
3. Develop Allergy Free Menus
Please share best practices that you use in your kitchen that could help others. If you know of more links, information, people who could add to this discussion, leave the same in the comments and we will follow it up.