Knowledge of café and restaurant managers to provide a safe meal to food allergic consumers

Authors

  • Carol A. Wham,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
    • Correspondence: C.A. Wham, Massey University, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Auckland Campus, Private Bag 102904, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. Email: c.a.wham@massey.ac.nz

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  • Kanchan M. Sharma

    1. Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • C.A. Wham, PhD, NZRD, Senior Lecturer
  • K.M. Sharma, MTech, Food Technology Student

Abstract

Aim

To identify knowledge of café and restaurant managers to provide safe meals to food allergic consumers.

Methods

A structured self-administered knowledge questionnaire was completed by managers of 124 food establishments in Wellington, New Zealand.

Results

Three quarters (76%) of managers agreed to participate. Overall, 13% of respondents provided correct responses for all knowledge items. Most (93%) were very confident/confident to provide a safe meal to food allergic consumers and 64% very confident/confident to manage an allergen emergency. A quarter reported past training in food allergy management. Those with past training were more likely to have plans in place to provide a safe meal (14.8% vs. 3.4%; χ2 =2.918, P < 0.05), manage an emergency (37.8% vs 21.8%; χ2 = 2.158, P < 0.05) and to have a training program for staff (42.9% vs 8.8%; χ2 = 15.419, P < 0.001). Restaurant managers were more likely to have an emergency plan than café managers (33.3% vs 14.9%; χ2 = 3.974, P < 0.01). Two-thirds (65%) of managers kept written recipes with ingredient details. Recipes were more likely kept if member of an industry association versus non-member (81.6% vs 60.4%; χ2 = 4.332, P < 0.01). Seventy-seven per cent were interested in future training. Interest was greater among industry association members (98.0% vs 83.7%; χ2 = 4.317, P < 0.02) and owners compared to managers (81.3% vs 71.7%; χ2 = 5.901, P < 0.02).

Conclusions

Food allergy knowledge of food establishment managers may compromise the safety of food allergic customers. Positive benefits of voluntary manager training are evident. For robust consumer protection, it is suggested that training be incorporated into the registration requirements for food establishments.

Ancillary