Campus News

Communication key when hosting people with food allergies

Almost 50 million Americans live with a food allergy, so there’s a good chance that someone with dietary restrictions might be on the guest list for your holiday party or dinner. 

It’s good policy to check with family and friends to see if they or their children have food allergies when you invite them over. 

The most common food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans and walnuts), milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. People who live with allergies on a daily basis will tell you that these allergens can be in many foods and sometimes in foods where one might not expect them.

Making a few dishes without the offending ingredients will make your guests feel welcome. Consider serving a variety of foods so that even those with food allergies will have some items they can eat.

If you make a dish that contains ingredients that are common allergens, make festive labels for each dish that let people know it contains the ingredient. One easy way to do this is to print the messages on paper labels and tape them to toothpicks or wooden Popsicle sticks that can be inserted into the dish.

Take extra precautions in the kitchen to separate foods containing allergens from other foods to prevent cross-contamination. Thoroughly clean equipment, utensils and work surfaces between uses to prevent allergens from being transferred from one dish into another.