Childcare Centres Require an Effective Allergen Policy
Protecting children with allergies from the foods known to trigger them is a vital practice in childcare facilities. All precautions must be implemented to ensure children are safe, and that even the slightest risk to their safety is removed. To safeguard the children in your facility’s care, a comprehensive childcare allergen policy needs to be developed and instigated. Below are a number of measures which should be considered as part of your facility’s strategy.
It All Starts the Day They Enrol
From the moment a child with food allergies is enrolled, a personalised allergic reaction prevention plan needs to be discussed with parents and implemented by childcare staff. This involves learning which foods cause the reactions, what to do in the event of an incident, intensive staff training and easy-to-access storage of any emergency medications. This plan must be formalised in a document and kept in an accessible place.
Know the Common Allergens
Common allergens include –
Eggs Cow’s Milk Tree Nuts Peanuts
Fish Shellfish Sesame Seeds Wheat
When these foods enter a day care facility, they should be immediately labelled with food safety labels and stored separately from other foods.
Know the Food Safety Labels to Apply
Correctly applied food safety labels clarify the identification of foods likely to cause allergic reactions. When storing foods known to trigger allergic reactions, day care centre staff must be trained in which labels to apply so they are clearly visible and the chances of serving the wrong food to children prone to allergic reactions is greatly diminished. The Fildes Food Safety Childcare Allergy Labels can be used to help notify staff as to which children in their care are allergic to certain food items.
Colour-code kitchen utensils and chopping boards.
Once this strategy is implemented, incidents of allergen cross-contamination reduces remarkably. It’s simply a matter of using colour coded utensils such as red handled knives and red boards for raw meat, yellow for raw poultry, green for fruit and vegetables, and so on. Whatever system of colour coding you choose, ensure charts are clearly visible for all staff to see so they know which colour is used for which food.
Wash your hands.
This sounds simple, yet so many busy workers may forget this obvious step. Traces of nuts on your hands, which are safe for one child, may be deadly to another. Washing your hands thoroughly will remove these and other allergens to ensure all the children in your care are safe.
Keeping the children in your care safe is non-negotiable and requires a high level of vigilance and the correct adoption of proven food safety strategies. From simple elements like hand washing and applying food safety labels, to written allergy plans and staff training, every precaution must be taken. Little lives depend on it.
For all your food safety needs, get in contact with Fildes Food Safety today.