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Gac Sanit. 2014 Nov-Dec;28(6):450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2014.07.001. Epub 2014 Aug 7.

[Management of the risks associated with allergens in school canteens in Barcelona (Spain)].

[Article in Spanish]

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Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, España.
Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, España; CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), España; Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica Sant Pau, Barcelona, España. Electronic address:



To determine demand for special meals and their types for students with food allergies or intolerances (FAI) in school canteens in Barcelona (Spain) during the 2011-12 school year, and to ascertain the degree of implementation of self-assessment plans and preventive measures for the management of allergens, and the relationships between the application of such measures and other variables.


A descriptive study was performed of a representative sample of schools (n=129). The dependent variables collected data on the schools and students, the level of demand for special meals, and the implementation of preventive measures. Independent variables consisted of canteen management, the number of users, and whether self-assessment plans were implemented. For those schools that prepared meals (n=92), an index was calculated from the questions on preventive measures. Student t-tests were used to compare the means of the indices with stratification by the independent variables.


A total of 89% of schools served special meals for students with FAI (1,507 special meals per day, 5% of all meals) and 65% had no allergen control plan. The mean of the indices was 11.6 out of 17. Externally managed canteens, with more users and with self-assessment plans, implemented more preventive measures for allergen management (p<0.05).


A high proportion of schools report carrying out preventive measures in the process of preparing and serving special meals. Those with self-assessment plans have better preventive practices. To manage this food-related risk, food hygiene inspection services should promote the implementation of allergen control plans in school canteens.


APPCC; Alimentación escolar; Allergens; Alérgenos; Buenas prácticas de manipulación; Food handling; Food hypersensitivity; Food inspection; Food safety; Food services; HACCP; Hipersensibilidad a los alimentos; Inspección sanitaria; Schools; Seguridad alimentaria

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