Food allergies can at times be life threatening. My son Taylor is one of those individuals who suffer from life threatening food allergies and he has had multiple anaphylactic reactions. All of Taylor’s food related anaphylactic reactions occurred from cross contamination or from undisclosed allergens in food and all but one while dining at restaurants. Because of this I have created Safe Foodie Sticks.
Safe Foodie Sticks were created specifically for restaurants, catering companies and those who make food for potlucks, bake sales, school lunches, holiday dinners, social gatherings where food is present and anywhere food is being served. Using Safe Foodie Sticks is a safe and obvious way to let those with food allergies or intolerances know that a food is safe for them to eat.
When using Safe Foodie Sticks you are telling the individual that you took extra care in making sure that they can enjoy this food free from their allergen and free from worry.
You can use Safe Foodie Sticks internally (behind the scenes) or you can leave them in the food dish and present it to the client. This is entirely up to you and desired presentation of the dish. When you are using a Safe Foodie Stick to let someone know that their food dish is free from a specific allergen, then in good faith you should have done the following:
- The first thing you need to do is to confirm that all of your ingredients are safe for the person with food allergies to eat and have not been processed in a factory or on a shared line as the allergen. This means reading labels and at times may even require you to call the manufacturer of the product to see if the food is safe and free from any risk of cross contamination. This must be done each time food is prepared as ingredients can often change- even with foods we have safely enjoyed dozens of times prior. When in doubt, leave it out!
- The next step is to make sure that all cooking utensils, bowls, baking sheets, aprons, your workspace and hands are washed and sterilized. It is critical that every surface is clean so that there is no risk of cross contamination. For those with severe food allergies (those that suffer from air borne anaphylaxis), it is better if the person handling and preparing food has not ingested or handled the allergen for several days.
- Make sure that the allergen in question is nowhere near your prep or cooking surfaces. Avoid risk of cross contamination by only keeping the safe ingredients that you need close by.
- Make sure you use common sense and good cooking practices such as hand washing when appropriate.
- Finally, make sure your hands are clean when you insert your Safe Foodie Stick into the food dish as to eliminate the risk of cross contamination. Leave your Safe Foodie Stick in its original package until you are ready to use it.
- Safe Foodie Sticks are single use sticks and should not be reused.
- Keep each dish on a separate dish or platter if dealing with more than one allergy so you avoid cross contamination.
Note: Be sure to check the comfort level of each individual before preparing food for them. Some people do not mind eating food that is processed on a shared line with their allergen as long as the manufacturer claims to clean the line and batch test for presence of their allergen. Other individuals, like my son Taylor, do not feel comfortable with this at all. Make sure you are working within the comfort of the individual and respecting their specific practices. After all, Safe Foodie Sticks were created not only to keep people safe, but to EMPOWER them!