September: The National Food and Safety Month

“Avoid a reaction by taking action”

To avoid any reaction, steps must first be taken as preventative measures. As it relates to ensuring food safety, steps should be taken from harvesting to storage, from storage to preparation and from preparation to service then consumption.

Reactions are classified as allergies in Food and Nutrition terms: Therefore, a Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction.

The only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the foods that cause you signs and symptoms. Such foods include: eggs, milk, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, shell fish such as crab, lobster, shrimp etc.

Food allergies can be identified when a person usually develop a reaction within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food. Food allergies can occur even the first time you eat a food.  Additionally, a medically related test of your blood can be done to measure certain nutrients and substances within it to determine food allergies.

 

One of the most important ways you can keep persons with food allergies safe is by preventing cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when one food comes in contact with another food and the proteins mix.

There are several ways to prevent cross contamination:

  1. When preparing foods, always use clean equipment that has been washed and rinsed
  2. Wash your hands carefully before preparing food and if wearing gloves change them before prepping foods.
  3. Use separate fryers for different foods when frying.
  4. If aware of any food allergies, ensure that foods are prepared in separate location or clean surfaces. Never ignore a food allergy request.
  5.  If you are a food service provider please ensure that you are trained to avoid food contamination.

The most common food allergy 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.

 

Grenada Food and Nutrition Council

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