Amtrak Follow Up: Q & A with Spokesman Marc Magliari

July 30, 2014   After writing my initial post on train travel, I asked spokesman Marc Magliari for additional details on the training of food service workers, the presence of nuts, etc.  Below are his answers to my questions.

Q:  After checking your website, I’m wondering how often the food facts will be updated. The menu items were last updated on May 8, 2013.  At the bottom of the page, it says ingredients may have changed so there are no guarantees.

A:  We of course do provide generic disclaimers on all printed menus, which is not unusual for Amtrak or other food service operators to do.

Q:  I’m assuming if an ingredient has changed that at least your food service workers would be aware of it even if the website isn’t updated, correct?

A:  The most common way for an item to have changed is as a result of commissary provisioning as to manage inventory and purchase agreements, we sometimes must make product substitutions to manage inventory. Train managers are tasked with communicating those substitutions with the On-Board Service staff.

Q:  Have your food service workers been trained in the area of food allergies?

A:  On-Board Service staff are not trained relative to food allergens at this time. Managers have each taken an allergen awareness class provided by MENUTRINFO, a partner whom we work with in verifying nutritional data for use in our dining service guides as well as for use on the Amtrak Food Facts website.

Q:  Do food service workers know how to work with food to prevent cross contamination?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Are peanuts or tree nuts served on any of your trains?

A:  Like most food service operators, we do offer a small number of selections that may utilize tree-nuts or peanuts (those would be listed on the packaging). Many of our current suppliers do produce items in facilities that are not “nut-free.”

Both M&M Peanuts and Planters Brand Salted Peanuts are offered in all of our Café Lounge Cars for guests who’d wish to purchase them. Dining cars do not offer these type of grab and go snacks, so those cars would not have those.

While our on-board staff and Amtrak Food Facts website are can be very helpful in terms of providing guidelines, passengers must plan accordingly and be responsible for their own safety, health and well-being while traveling on Amtrak.

Thank you for the additional information Marc Magliari.  This information helps us plan and prepare for safer travels.