With the 4th of July long weekend upon us and people gathering more this summer, it’s important to brush up on some safety tips for enjoying the summer when you have a food allergy or are hosting someone with a food allergy. And for healthy and delicious recipes check out the recipe section of my website.
1. Ask the question(s) – Always ask guests if they have a food allergy or other special dietary need and involve the person in the menu planning. If someone in the group has an allergic condition, inquire about precautions you can take in food preparation to make the picnic allergy safe.
2. Always Always Read Labels – Did you know some brands of mustard contain milk? Did you know many BBQ sauces contain allergens and gluten? Buns and rolls are often filled with dairy and gluten. Even meat and veggie burgers can contain fillers and preservatives filed with allergens. It’s important to read labels even on brands your regularly use since manufacturing and ingredients can and often change.
3. Condiment, Sauce and Dressing Alert — Many are filled with allergens, commonly milk, wheat, and soy. Make your own dressings and sauces which is actually easy to do and healthier too! Consider using individual condiment packs instead of a large bottle of ketchup or mustard to prevent any cross contact.
4. Keep Everything Clean and Separate — Soap and water are best for removing allergens from hands and surfaces, but it’s important to carry wipes especially if you are at a public park where soap and water may not be plentiful or convenient. Cover tables with disposable tablecloths and thoroughly clean grills. Residue from that burger or buttered steak last cooked on the grill is likely to still be on the grill, and even a trace amount of dairy(or other allergen) could make someone sick or send them into anaphylaxis.
Keep dishes containing allergens on a separate table and clearly mark and label all items on your table so guests know the ingredients used to make each dish. Use separate utensils for each dish to avoid cross contact.
5. Be Prepared- No one wants a summer party interrupted with a trip to the ER but it’s important to know where the nearest hospital is in case something happens. And of course, if you have a food allergy, never go anywhere without your Epi device –in fact doctors advise having 2 Epi devices at all times.
With a little planning ahead, label reading, and attention to detail you can have a Happy, Food Allergy Safe Summer .
Share your best tips for safe eating in the summer below in our comments section.