The Journal of Foodservice Business Research published a study that indicates that restaurant management aren’t as knowledgeable about food allergy safety as they should be. It also found that this trickles down to other staff.
The study, conducted by researchers from Auburn University, surveyed 110 restaurant managerial employees from both independent and chain establishments. The goal was to find out how aware of food allergies they are and how well they can serve customers with food allergies.
The study did show that 80 percent of respondents had received food allergy training, but there is room for improvement in how much they learned.
Those managers who received food allergy training said that at least 70 percent of their staff had received training withing the past year. Almost 22 percent said that a food allergy reaction had happened in their restaurant within the past year.
Yet of the respondents, over forty percent were unable to identify soy or fish as common food allergies. Fifty percent did not know that arachis oil is the same as peanut oil. 40 percent also believed that removing an allergen-containing substance from a plated meal would prevent a reaction. Most believed that modern medicine has a cure for food allergies. More than half didn’t know the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance.
The good news is that most chefs knew more about food allergies and how to accommodate them than did management.
Several barriers were cited as reasons for many of the problems in the industry. Management almost unanimously cited common problems such as employee turnover, a general lack of commitment, and conflicting schedules as reasons their staff training was not higher.