The holiday season of sharing and inclusiveness can sometimes be very exclusive for individuals with food allergies. People who suffer from food allergies are often restricted at family get-togethers because of fear of cross-contamination, lack of allergy friendly food options, or just simply not knowing if the dish contains safe ingredients. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure ALL of your family members are safe and well fed this holiday season.
Top 8 Major Allergens
Here is a list of the top 8 major allergens and foods that typically contain them:
Dairy: butter, cheese, cream, half & half, chocolate
Egg: mayonnaise, eggnog, ice cream, marshmallows
Wheat: breaded foods, pasta, flour, some syrups
Soy: baked goods, processed meats, canned broths
Peanuts: mixed nuts, peanut butter, some desserts
Tree Nuts: cereals, crackers, cookies, nut butters, pecans
Shellfish: lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels, scallops
Fish: salmon, cod, halibut, bass, some sauces
Luckily, these eight major allergens are required by law, to be listed on the ingredient list of a food. To find if a food item contains any of these allergens search near the nutrition facts panel or ingredient list (typically found on the back of a package), the allergen is typically listed in bold letters or after the words “may contain” or “processed in a facility with”.
Plan Ahead & Communicate
It is important to plan meals and recipes ahead of time and talk to those who have food allergies to see what they can eat and what is off limits for them. Check out the Kids with Food Allergies to browse their huge collection of allergen friendly recipes.
Safe Food Handling
If you are hosting a holiday party, make sure to practice safe food handling practices such as ensuring that all guests wash their hands before and after eating allergy containing foods, labeling sections of the refrigerator and pantry as allergy free zones, and preventing cross contamination by wiping down counters before and after meals.
Safe Dishes to Share
Another way to prevent an allergic reaction in your home is to encourage those with allergies to bring their own allergy free meal or dish to share and encourage everyone bringing a dish to share to include a card with a list of the ingredients, including brand.
About the Author.
Written by Shanell Fyle
Hy-Vee Dietetic Intern
410 S. Riverfront Drive
Mankato, MN 56001