Hospital food service management workers know the importance of making sure that any patients with food allergies are only being served meals that are safe for them. Food allergies are no small matter, especially since they can be fatal. This is why researchers are constantly looking for ways to help people identify whether the meal they are eating contains something they are allergic to, and ways to eliminate food sensitivities all together.
For example, an article published in Food Service Director magazine reported on ways that people are working to fight back against allergies. Researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are attempting to reduce the impact of peanut allergies through the use of a patch. The patch has a peanut protein on it, and the idea is that if people are exposed to small doses of it over a long period of time, their peanut allergy may be reduced. This is similar to the way some smokers use a patch that releases small amounts of nicotine into their system until they no longer need it.
Working to detect allergies
Along with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh study, according to the news source, two students in Virginia created a device for the Toshiba Explora Vision contest that’s designed to detect if a food allergen is present in a food.
The device uses a UV laser beam to look into a food such as a baked good. This laser detects scattered light, some of which will experience shifts in frequency, called the Raman Spectrum. This spectrum is different for every food substance, allowing the device to determine if any common allergens are in the food.
Most common allergies
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common foods people are allergic to are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. You’ll want to make sure that your hospital menu clearly lists when these items are present in a dish so that a patient does not accidentally eat something they’re allergic to. If you’re serving any pre-packaged foods, make sure to double-check the labels to see if they contain any potentially harmful ingredients.
Prevention and Patient Safety
Processed foods contain many common additives like, Mono Diglyceride, if everyone on your team that is involved with patient meal service is not aware that Mono Diglyceride is a soy-based item, patients with a soy allergy would be at risk for a sentinel event. As there are hundreds of additives that are used by food manufacturers which contain common allergy reaction food sources, it is impossible to expect to have patient safety without the use of automated Food & Nutrition Software.
Vision Software, through it’s comprehensive patient and food databases would be an ideal tool to ensure patient safety in your hospital.