Food allergies are extremely common. They affect nearly 5% of adults and 8% of children and the percentages are rising. It is not uncommon to hear from family or friends that they have had to modify family meals because someone in their household is suspected of having a food allergy.
Click on this link to find a list of allergen training courses available in Michigan.
Requirements for Food Service Establishments
Food safety certified managers at food service establishments (e.g., restaurant, school or hospital inspected by a Michigan local health department) shall do both of the following:
- Complete allergen training – Each food service establishment shall have at least one certified manager that has also completed additional allergen training approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). An allergen training program certificate of completion is recognized to be valid for 5 years from date of issuance.
- Post an allergen poster in the establishment staff area – Each food service establishment shall display in the staff area a poster developed and approved by MDARD relative to food allergy awareness that includes, but is not limited to, information regarding the risk of an allergic reaction, or post the information from the poster in a different, readable notice in the staff area. Posters are available to be printed from the MDARD website.
What foods are most likely to cause allergic reactions?
Although it is possible for any food to cause an allergy, most food allergies are caused by these eight foods: Milk, Eggs, Fish, Crustacean Shellfish, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, and Tree Nuts (brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts and walnuts).
What is the difference between a food allergy ad a food intolerance?
A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. It can cause a range of symptoms. In some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems.
What are common symptoms of a reaction to a food allergy?
The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
What do restaurant owners and operators need to know about food allergies?
The Michigan Modified Food Code (FC 2-102.11) requires the person in charge to be able to describe the eight foods identified as major food allergens and the symptoms that major food allergens could cause in a sensitive individual.