A Quick Discussion about Food Allergies
I am currently taking a safety and sanitation course this semester. In the textbook there is only one chapter that includes food allergies and the section is rather short. I know that the focus of the class is on food borne illnesses, but I still would have thought that food allergies would have had a larger part.
In class when we went over the chapter that included food allergies and did not even spend like five minutes on the topic. I do not think the others in my class understand how serious food allergies are and that it affects over fifteen million Americans.
The back cover of the textbook has an ad to take another course from that company focused on food allergies. The college I am at does not offer that course, so I would have to take it online through the company of the textbook.
We are also using a textbook that has an updated version available. The exam we are taking is based off of the new material, but the textbooks we have to use do not include any of the updates, since it is an older book.
Other than that I have found the class to be very interesting. I think that not only food allergy awareness is important, but food safety awareness in general.
I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about safety and sanitation in the upcoming weeks and hopefully earning a Serv-Safe certification through the National Restaurant Association based off my exam score.
This was where I was going to end this post, but after having the class again this week, something else happened allowing me to bring some more awareness to the class about food allergies.
During the next class we discussed a form of testing done for those with food sensitivities and I volunteered my experiences with food tests. I have had all sorts of prick and blood tests for my allergies, but never a test for sensitivities. This information I shared with the class lead to the professor asking me questions about allergic reactions and eating at restaurants.
The professor asked if I knew the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities. I explained that food allergies can cause allergic reactions, anaphylaxis and death and that food sensitivities do not. Then she asked me if I knew what anaphylaxis was and I explained that your throat closes and you stop breathing. I was starting to feel a little nervous, as if she was testing me and my knowledge about my situation. Then she asked about what I do in restaurants and I said I use allergy cards and she asked if I had one with me.
To answer that I pulled out an allergy card from my bag, which the professor read aloud to the room of current and future food service workers. And then I pulled out my epi-pen causing many of my peers to gasp. I was a little surprised by this, but I don't think anyone realized how large the epi-pen really is or if anyone in the room had ever seen one before.
I also explained how the first epi-pen only gets me ten minutes to get to the hospital and the second one gets me another ten minutes. The epi-pen does not cure the reaction and I do not think many of my classmates knew that. I then mentioned why flying on an airplane is so dangerous, because if I was to have an allergic reaction on a plane I would be in a more risky situation that could lead to death.
The professor thanked me for sharing and I am glad that I was able to spread some more awareness about how serious food allergies are.