Good communication within the staff of a restaurant is pivotal to avoid unpleasant incidents.
When a person affected by allergy eats at the restaurant, they need to discuss about cross-contact with one of the restaurant employees. Even though food allergies are commonly understood, the term cross-contact is fairly new. The restaurant staff may know the term and how to safely prepare an allergen-free meal, but this term is still not universally used in the food service industry. The commonly used term is cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination is a common factor in the cause of foodborne illnesses. Microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses from different sources can contaminate foods during preparation and storage. Proper cooking of the contaminated food will, in most cases, reduce or eliminate the chances of a foodborne illness.
Cross-contact occurs when an allergen is inadvertently transferred from a food containing an allergen to a food that does not contain the allergen. Cooking does not reduce or eliminate the chances of a person with a food allergy having a reaction to the food eaten.
A knife used to spread peanut butter is only wiped off before being used again to spread jam. There could be enough peanut protein remaining on the knife to cause a reaction in a person who has peanut allergy. All equipment and utensils must be cleaned with hot, soapy water before being used to prepare allergen-free food. Even a trace of food on a spoon or spatula that is invisible to the eye can cause an allergic reaction.
Visual taken from Canva.com