May 13-19 marks Food Allergy Awareness Week, eMenuCHOICE champions food safety for seniors with allergy safeguards

Food Allergy Awareness Week kicks off on May 13 and aims to bring attention to the challenges an estimated 15 million Americans face at the dinner table.

Much of the food allergy discussion centers around children, but researchers estimate 5 to 10 percent of older adults ages 65 and older have food allergies. Some have lived with allergies their whole lives while others develop allergies as adults.

Food safety is a top priority for senior living communities, and eMenuCHOICE® helps these communities manage food allergy, food intolerance and dietary restriction information to help keep residents safe. eMenuCHOICE is a web-based, point-of-sale software application designed specifically for managing dining and food service administration in senior living.

More than just a meal ordering system, eMenuCHOICE stores dietary information for each resident and flags or prevents orders that could be harmful to his or her health.

“Because the software checks for and enforces allergen rules, residents are prevented from accidentally ordering food that that is not safe,” said Matt Stenerson, co-founder and CTO of eMenuCHOICE. “In addition, since all diet restrictions are available throughout the dining process, staff can help residents make good, safe food choices that are in line with their dietary restrictions.”

The software is programmed to automatically track ingredients in meals such as cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat, which comprise 90 percent of all food allergens. Senior care providers also can add as many additional allergies as necessary for their residents.

Managing allergies and intolerances in older adults is important because studies indicate that as people and their immune systems age, changes in immune cells can cause new allergies to develop and diminish the presence of symptoms caused by allergens. Even though symptoms may be diminished, the effects of the allergen can still be dangerous

“Older adults recover more slowly from illness, making it even more important to protect them from eating items they are allergic to,” Stenerson said. “In some cases, older adults may suffer from memory issues that may cause them to unknowingly order something that they are allergic to, causing a health risk.”

With safeguards in place to prevent unsafe food orders, eMenuCHOICE is doing its part during Food Allergy Awareness Week and the rest of the year to keep dining safe in senior living.

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