Food Allergies in Foodservice Rotations

While being in my Institutional Food Service, Production, and Management rotation this summer, a common concern from management has come to my attention. And this concern would be…  Food Allergies!

A food allergy is the body’s immune system reaction to certain foods. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching or swelling in or around the mouth, face, and scalp; tightening in the throat; wheezing or shortness of breath; hives; abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea; loss of consciousness; and even death.

Food allergies are a growing public health concern. As many as 15 million people in the U.S. have food allergies. An estimated 9 million, or 4%, of adults have food allergies. Nearly 6 million, or 8%, of children have food allergies with young children affected the most. Although children allergies to milk, egg, wheat, and soy generally resolve in childhood, they appear to be resolving more slowly than in previous decades, with many children still allergic beyond age 5 years. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish are generally lifelong allergies.

The top food allergens are categorized into eight food groups. These eight food groups account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. They include: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. The estimated prevalence among the American population is:

          Milk and eggs: based on data within and obtained outside the United States, this rate is likely to be 1-2% for young children and 0.2-0.4% in the general population.

          Peanut: 0.6-1.3%

          Tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans): 0.4%-0.6%

          Fish: 0.4%

          Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp): 1.2%

          All seafood: 0.6% in children and 2.8% in adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18 years. From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,500 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children under age 18 years. Even small amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. Most allergic reactions to foods occurred to foods that were thought to be safe. Allergic reactions can be attributed to a form of mislabeling or cross-contact during food preparation. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting. Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department. This is approximately 200,000 emergency department visits per year, and every 6 minutes the reaction is one of anaphylaxis. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may recur after initially subsisting and experts recommend an observation period of about 4 hours to monitor that the reaction has been resolved. Individuals with food allergies who also have asthma may be at an increased risk for severe or fatal food allergic reactions. Children with food allergy are 3-4 times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared without food allergies. It is possible to have anaphylaxis without any skin symptoms (no rash or hives). Failure to promptly (i.e., within minutes) treat food anaphylaxis with epinephrine is a risk factor for fatalities.

Chemical contamination can occur when high-acid foods are prepared or stored in metal-lined containers. Poisoning may result if brass or copper, galvanized, or gray enamelware containers are used. Fruit juices should never be stored in gray enamelware with lead glaze or tin milk cans. Cases of poisoning have been recorded that have been attributed to use of improper metal utensils. Sauerkraut, tomatoes, fruit gelatins, lemonade, and fruit punches have been implicated in metal poisonings.

Toxin metals also have been implicated in food poisoning cases. Copper may become poisonous when it is in prolonged contact with acid foods or carbonated beverages. The vending industry voluntarily discontinued all point-of-sale carbonation systems that do not completely guard against the possibility of backflow into copper water lines. Also, food such as meat placed directly on cadmium-plated refrigerator shelves may be rendered poisonous.

Mayo Clinic

NIH

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food allergy in foodservicefood allergy_peanuts allergy

Shingles and Nutrition

shinglesShingles and Your Diet

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a rash that can be painful. According to MayoClinic.com, shingles typically resolves on its own, but medications can help hustle up the healing process and relieve pain. Certain nutrients have displayed pain-relieving assets, and incorporating these into your diet can help with shingles or painful difficulties.

First

Add foods to your diet that are rich in lysine. Or you can take a lysine supplement. Lysine is an amino acid that may prevent herpes virus outbreaks, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dietary sources of this amino acid include meat, cheese, sardines, eggs, soybeans, beans and legumes. Fenugreek seed is also a good source of lysine.

Second

Eat shellfish, eggs, beef and dairy products, all of which contain vitamin B-12.

Third

Take a vitamin E supplement. Mount Auburn Hospital recommends taking 1,200 to 1,600 international units per day of vitamin E for postherpetic neuralgia. Dietary sources of vitamin E include almonds, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, tomatoes, peanuts and peanut butter.

Fourth

Stock up on foods high in vitamin C and zinc. MayoClinic.com states that shingles outbreaks can occur due to an impaired immune system, and vitamin C and zinc are essential in promoting a healthy immune system. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli, leafy greens, peppers and potatoes. Oysters, red meats, chicken, legumes and whole grains are also good sources of zinc.

What to Avoid when you have Shingles

Shingles

According to the Mayo Clinic, shingles are red, raw and very painful blisters that can appear anywhere on your body but typically appear as blisters that wrap around your torso. If you have previously had chicken pox, are over 50 and have a weakened immune system, you are most at risk for contracting shingles. The CDC advises you to stay away from infants, pregnant women and others who have compromised immune systems until your shingles outbreak has passed.

Foods to Avoid

Avoiding certain foods can help alleviate symptoms of shingles. Arginine is an amino acid that your body produces naturally, but you should avoid foods that contain it. Arginine helps the herpes zoster virus to replicate. Chocolate, nuts and gelatin contain high levels of arginine. Also, don’t consume foods such as saturated fats or refined carbohydrates, because those might cause further inflammation. In addition, avoid alcohol and caffeine because these can weaken the immune system.

Nutrition Myth Busters

Nutrition Myth Busters

I stumbled across a clip from Fox News on nutrition myths. The news station put into perspective how consumers seem to be confused about what’s really healthy versus unhealthy.

For a professional opinion, the show brought on Elizabeth Ward, RD to play their version of Myth Busters for all those consumers who thought they were grocery shopping the “right” way. Elizabeth Ward is not only a RD, but also the author of “MyPlate for Moms: How to Feed Yourself and Your Family Better”. So, the host and guest host addressed 4 commonly thought myths from consumers across the country.

Myth 1: All white foods are bad.

  • A common misconception is that consumers should avoid all white and tan colored foods.
  • Consumers focus so much on bright colored fruits and vegetables, and apprehensively shy away from white colored foods.
  • Consumers assume that they should avoid all white carbs because of their bad reputation.
  • The standard is 3 servings/day of whole grains
  • People need to understand that the key to a healthy diet is a balanced diet.
  • There are white foods that consumers do not need to be afraid of! If they’re looking for those phytochemicals that are in all those bright, colorful veggies- there’s no need to stray away.
  • Here are some white colored fruits and veggies to think about: cauliflower, mushrooms, bananas, dates, garlic, ginger, jicama, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, shallots, turnips, and white corn. These foods also include those important phytochemicals that are in brighter colored produce.

Myth 2: All canned fruits and vegetables are bad.

  • Most consumers assume that canned fruits and vegetables are unhealthy. This is not true.
  • Elizabeth reminds viewers that not all canned fruits and vegetables are created equally.
  • Consumers need to look for labels that read:
  1. No added salt
  2. No added sugar, or
  3. Low sodium
  • Canned fruits and vegetables are picked at ripeness. The canning process actually preserves the nutritional value in these foods. And this is especially important in those cold winter months when your favorite produce isn’t in season.
  • The important issue here is READING the LABELS on your canned foods (as mentioned above)
  • Elizabeth Ward also reminds viewers that fruit cups in water or 100% juice is another form of a healthier canned food item.

Myth 3: Eggs are as healthy as cigarettes.

  • This statement was based on an observational study done by scientists. It wasn’t based on a cause and effect study. So, that alone implies biased reasoning.
  • According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, a healthy person can eat 1 egg per day.
  • I think that the uproar about this is the fact that yolk has a bad reputation, concerning cholesterol levels.
  • But, our RD on-hand explains that yolks consist of 90% of an egg’s nutritional value.

Myth 4: You lose weight by only exercising.  

  • A lot of consumers believe that they can eat whatever they want and just workout a little bit longer, and the weight will just shed off of them. This isn’t true either!
  • Studies have shown that shorter exercises and cutting back on calories will result in more weight loss and for the long-run.
  • Harder workouts aren’t acknowledged as longitudinal, compared to shorter, more frequent workouts
  • And of course, cutting back on calories is definitely a major component in weight loss. Ridding unnecessary calories from your typical diet is the key to success.
  • Again, the concept of moderation is stressed here again. Everything that a healthy person does to their body or consumes in their body should be in moderation. Physical exertion and calories included.

http://www.myfoxboston.com/category/233810/fox-25-morning-news