If you are MN food safety certified professional at a daycare center, after-school facility or restaurant that tailors to younger diners, you know that kids have different tastes than adults and many times have special dietary needs that must be accounted for.
Food Safety Certification MN Tips for Keeping Kids Safe
This first thing to keep in mind when serving children is that they are more sensitive to food borne pathogens and can have more severe allergic reactions than adults. If your operation serves children regularly or on a large scale, we strongly suggest that you:
- Pay close attention to heating, storing and holding temperatures
- Remove potential allergy risks from your facility
- Provide gluten-free and low-sugar options
- Offer a variety of healthy options
In previous posts, we have discussed our first tip in great detail, but it is important to be diligent when serving at risk groups such as children. If you are unsure what the proper heating and holding temperatures are, you may wish to review Minnesota Food Code temperature guidelines.
Secondly, it may be a good idea to remove all allergen risks completely from your facility if you operate a daycare center or other business that exclusively caters to children. Keep in mind that peanuts, tree nuts and seafood are high-risk allergen items, keeping them out of your kitchen will eliminate the risk of accidentally exposing a child to them.
It is becoming more common nowadays to come across children who have been diagnosed as gluten intolerant or sensitive to sugar. You will be able to ease many parents’ fears if you are able to supply their children with a gluten-free and low-sugar substitute for their meals.
If you serve the same group of children every day, it’s a good idea to offer a wider variety of meals. Even though some children are fine with the same lunch several times a week, you’ll provide better nutritional options if you vary the meals. While most children would love to eat hotdogs every day, you’ll appeal to parents if you also offer a wide variety of healthy meals.
In the case of restaurants that have a special menu tailored to young diners, keep in mind that parents are looking at what their kids order. While items such as frozen pizza and microwavable macaroni and cheese may be cost effective, parents do know the difference. You may wish to consider making your macaroni and other kid’s menu items in-house to show parents that their kids’ meals are just as important as theirs.
Many outlets choose to get incredibly creative when serving children. What is one of the best items that you have ever seen on a kid’s menu?