It’s not just at home that peanuts and peanut butter are popular. Over the past six years, peanut mentions on American menus have increased as chefs are finding creative and innovative ways to add them to appetizers, salads, main dishes, sides and desserts.
Managing food allergies in a restaurant or other foodservice environment is no different from managing other food safety issues. Proper planning and training for all staff are critical.
The good news is that more than 99 percent of Americans can enjoy peanuts without any issue. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Expert Panel, peanut allergies affect just 0.6 percent of us – and fall behind milk and eggs in children and behind shellfish among adults in prevalence.*
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) and Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) have partnered to develop a comprehensive program for training staff to safely prepare and serve food to guests who have food allergies.
FARE has developed an online resource called SafeFare: Dining out with food allergies at safefare.org. FARE partnered with the NRA and MenuTrinfo to provide food allergy handling resources for foodservice professionals. They have also partnered with AllergyEats, a website that helps food allergic individuals find food-allergy friendly restaurants.
NRA offers an online, on-demand training in food allergen handling called ServSafe Allergen®. This quick and affordable resource helps foodservice staff learn to keep allergic diners safer in the foodservice environment.
Because dining out is one of the vulnerable areas of exposure for the food allergic, the National Peanut Board offers presentations and trainings for large foodservice operators, manufacturers and others to help educate them about strategies for meeting customers’ needs without unnecessarily eliminating foods from their menus.
Does peanut oil cause an allergic reaction?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exempts highly refined peanut oil – typically used for frying – from being labeled as a peanut allergen because the allergenic protein has been removed during the refining process. However, cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil is still allergenic – usually found as aromatic or gourmet oils. Those with a peanut allergy should always ask for clarification if they are unsure about which oil is being used.