Food Safety Tips
- Designating a group of pots, pans and utensils specifically for the preparation of allergy-free meals. Even a trace of a food allergen, such as peanut or milk, can cause a reaction.
- Preparing several allergy-free meals at a time and freezing them until they are ready to be consumed. This method will reduce the risk of cross-contamination that can happen when allergy-free and allergenic meals are prepared at the same time.
- Thoroughly cleansing hands, utensils and kitchen surface areas prior to cooking allergy-free meals.
The majority of reactions to food allergy occur when a person has eaten a food they thought was safe. In addition to heeding the strategies listed above, anyone with a food allergy must:
- Learn the scientific and technical terms of allergens (i.e. casein = milk, albumin = egg).
- Read every label on each product purchased. Manufacturers change ingredients often without warning.
- Avoid purchasing a product if the ingredient listing is not available.
- When dining out, inform the wait staff about the food allergy and clarify the ingredients used to prepare the meal selected.
- Stress to family and friends that food allergy is serious and that a reaction to it can be fatal.
Food allergy affects more than 6 million Americans. An estimated 2.5 million children have been diagnosed with food allergy in this country. The foods that account for 90 percent of the reactions to food allergy include peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.), fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, soy and wheat. To date, severe reactions to food allergy have resulted in an estimated 30,000 emergency room visits and between 100-200 deaths per year.