CertiStar provides allergen friendly, individualized menus to customers in restaurants (and any other place you can eat!) that display, stop-light style, what the customer can have or what they can modify without worrying. Often times, the conversation that ensues can be time consuming and stressful for both parties. CertiStar was founded by North Phoenix resident Shandee Chernow in 2017 because she knows exactly how painful dining experiences can be. Shandee suffers from anaphylactic food allergies and she found that this particular problem was not being well addressed.
There are 15 million Americans (that means over 320,000 Arizonans!) that also suffer from food allergies, along with 50 million that suffer from food intolerances. Many of these people react to the Top 8 (peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy, milk, dairy, egg and wheat) but there are over 170 different foods that have been known to cause food allergic reactions. CertiStar allows customers to search any foods, in any combination and find out which are the best choices for them to make.
Because of the reactions that come from other people, food allergy sufferers often times feel stigmatized. Frequently, food allergic guests will try to order safely and avoid having any type of disruptive conversation with the establishment where they’re dining, put themselves at great risk. In fact, one in three food allergic kids report being bullied specifically around their allergy by their peers. It’s hard to understand how food allergies affect a person throughout each day when you’re fortunate enough to not be affected by them. However, it’s important to remember that it is not a choice or a preference.
By breaking menu items down into component ingredients and then comparing them against an ad hoc list of allergens, CertiStar is able to quickly list menu items which are safe to enjoy. Accessible through a restaurant’s mobile device or POS system, this eliminates the arduous back and forth between customer and staff, which often leaves the patron with little or no feelings of safety. CertiStar’s software helps individuals and families feel much safer about their dining options. Moreover, when used by schools, families and children can feel safer about the selections in the cafeteria with the knowledge that an added precautionary measure has been utilized to keep food allergy sufferers from coming into contact with a trigger. Hospitals can use CertiStar in a similar way with patients, nearly eliminating the concern that the wrong food is served to anyone with allergies.
The stop-light style individualized menu is represented in green, yellow and red. Green is indicative of “Allergen Friendly”. Yellow means “Allergen Friendly with Modifications” (and the modifications are bulleted out). Finally, the “Unsafe” options are listed in Red. The restaurant can choose to only show the Green or the Green & Yellow sections as well.
CertiStar also provides many educational sessions, both online in person. Culinary schools, elementary schools, high schools, hospitality organizations and restaurants have all taken part in these educational programs. In the in-person classes, students even get to practice using trainer versions of Epinephrine Auto Injectors.
Dining out, going to school, top notch care in hospitals…none of these services should be impacted or limited by having food allergies. Today, using technology, there is a way to increase the level of safety that service providers can employ when providing for people who suffer from food allergies. At CertiStar, we are pleased to be leading the way in providing a solution that is easy to employ, easy to use, and makes the everyone’s experience safer and more enjoyable and in educating both providers and patrons.
CertiStar – www.certistar.com