Special mealrequirements in public catering

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Food allergies and intolerances

Nowadays “free” meals are more and more fashionable. The reason for this is that more and more people are allergic and/or sensitive to one or more components of foods. Specific concomitant of this problem is, that the nutriment causing symptoms is to be avoided. This may implyalifelong diet in order to maintain health.

Food allergies and intolerances emerge most frequently already in childhood, therefore kitchens providing public catering for kindergartens and schools are also involved in following diets.

If a special demand on dietetic meal – certified by a specialist physician – will be filed, the catering provider will be obliged to insure the special diet in the case of allergens included in the 37/2014 (IV.30) regulation issued by EMMI (Ministry of Human Capacities).If it cannot be executed by cooking on the spot (because of lacking either expert or infrastructure), the dietetic food is to be insured in cooperation with external partner.

Workers in the children’s catering must be up-to-dateon the characteristics of special diets, since according to a survey carried out in 2017 by OGYÉI (National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition), intwo-third of the Hungarian schoolshad special dietary needs. This is supported also by the Survey of Food Control Group, indicating the need for at least one dietetic menu in 61% of100schools.

Therefore, it is indispensable to widen the knowledge of kitchen workers in the fields of food allergies and intolerances, which are closely related to food safety.

When preparing the meals, food handlers must be fully aware of the criteria of certain diets, since in theeventof a mistake, they can cause severe healthdamage that could even endanger the consumer’s life.

Food Control group organizes food safety trainings for several hundred kitchen workers every year,covering the aspects of the special catering, highlighting critical points and provides solutions andhelp for implementation of safe dietetic cooking.