In the past 20 years, the incidence of food allergies has nearly doubled. Only eight foods make up 90 percent of all food allergies: tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, fish, milk, wheat, soybeans, and eggs. This holiday season, it may be worth being aware of the ingredients in the foods you serve when hosting, especially if you know somebody with a food allergy will be attending. It can be easy for people without food allergies to unintentionally overlook this issue when preparing to host a holiday feast. Below are a couple of tips to keep in mind when you have guests with food allergies:
- Communicate with guests – Find out if any of your guests have food allergies and plan your menu accordingly.
- Learn more about allergies – Some food allergens have different names. For example, if someone has an egg allergy, be wary of the following names: albumin, albuminate, globulin, lecithin, livetin, lysozyme, vitellin, and words that begin with ova or ovo.
- Think about cross–contamination – If you can’t avoid the allergen completely, be careful about cross-contamination when preparing food in your kitchen or if you buy prepared food. For people with serious allergies, life-threatening reactions can occur when a dish contains even the smallest bit of an allergen.
- Label dishes – This can help guests with food allergies feel comfortable, so they know which dishes have potential allergens.
To read more about holiday hosting when guests have food allergies, click here. If you have any concerns about your child’s allergy status, or about their health in general please contact your child’s primary care provider, or set up an appointment with an allergist! The CHIME Study Team wishes everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.