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

FARE

food allergy in foodservicefood allergy_peanuts allergy

A Very Merry Holiday

A Very Merry Holiday

There are several times throughout the year when people focus on losing weight — just before their birthday, leading up to a wedding or important event, and a few months prior to bathing suit season.

But there’s usually only one occasion when people forget about losing weight and simply concentrate on not gaining any. And that’s the holidays.

Thanksgiving is long gone, so if you had a few too many slices of Grandma’s pumpkin pie, relax and let it go. There’s no reason to feel guilty!

Instead, look ahead to Christmas. It’s the second time in the span of about 1 month that people will gather for absurd amounts of food, and, most importantly, quality family time.

By Dec. 26, everyone regrets that fourth helping of stuffing, fifth buttered roll and sixth biscotti, no matter how enjoyable they were the day before. To avoid feeling overstuffed prepare a plan beforehand. This will also help shed worries of weight gain and hopefully keep you from closing out 2012 with an extra 10 pounds on your hips.

Just say no….

A lot of holiday foods can be tempting, which is why it’s important to remember the phrase “mind over matter.”

Aunt Ginger may make the most delicious mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted, so you tend not to realize that they’re loaded with fat and dripping with butter. You think you need to scoop up as many as you can before your rambunctious cousins get to them, but the fact is, the dish will be there next year and for many years to come.

This isn’t the last pan of mashed potatoes on the planet. Think of it that way and it’ll be easier to turn them down.

Also keep in mind that just because everyone around you is stuffing themselves doesn’t mean you need to follow suit.

The key is to eat until you’re satisfied, and not full. Pace yourself because you may tend to eat less! The slower you eat sometimes, the more full your stomach gets quicker. And make sure you listen to your stomach when it feels full…

Learn what’s what…

Something may seem healthful on the surface, but that doesn’t mean that’s truly the case. Sure, that green bean casserole has vegetables, but it also has creamy soup with all-too-high fat and sodium levels.

Try to learn exactly what’s in the food you’re eating so you know whether it’s OK to dive in for seconds.

“Ultimately, just a general education of wellness is always very important for everyone”

Pay attention to things like antioxidants and good fats vs. bad fats. A bowl of almonds, pecans and peanuts will make an excellent pre-meal snack and offers healthful fats at the same time.

A tray of sliced fruits and vegetables provides another convenient appetizer with plenty of health benefits.

“Things with lots of colors — they all have tons of antioxidants in them”

Consider volunteering to do the cooking for your family so you’ll have ultimate control over the nutrition on the table come Christmas Day. Plus this gives Nanny a break from all that cooking too!

Tweak tradition…

Holiday classics don’t have to be eliminated. Just look for ways to make them as nutritious as possible. For example, you can continue your family’s tradition of having a 20-pound turkey as the main dish, but don’t get any fancy ideas about deep frying the bird.

“Baking, broiling and grilling are really the best cooking methods”. Take the skin off the turkey before you eat it to make it even better for you.

Stuffing is also found in many holiday feasts, and it’s another dish that can be altered with ease. Making it from scratch and tossing in some dried cranberries will add fiber. Also, using whole wheat bread is also a healthy tweak to an old family tradition.

“When you’re choosing your foods during the holiday season or making recipes, try to continue to add whole grains to your diet”

Think ahead…

In the future, try to keep up with healthy habits before and after the holiday season. If you stick to normal portions and maintain a nutritious diet on a regular basis, it won’t be hard to stay in control on Christmas.

“Truly, it’s what you do all year round so that one day isn’t going to make a huge difference”

http://www.piercecountyherald.com/event/article/id/49987/group/News/

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