Aww, Nuts… Food Safety & Food Allergies – 12 Days/Day 10
Cookies, cakes, feasts, snack trays, candy…. The holiday season is just as much about the quality time shared breaking bread with family and friends as anything else.
The basics on food safety, avoiding cross contamination, and keeping your food out of the “danger range” can be found on our “Now your Cooking” post. Now is a good time to review washing hands, produce and how to keep your food from harboring dangerous bacteria and viruses.
This time of year, we’re more likely to be entertaining people we don’t know very well. Being a good host also means taking others’ dietary needs and limitations into consideration. Food allergies can range from mild reactions to deadly.
Common food allergies include:
- Peanuts and Tree Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds etc)
- Shellfish or fish
These eight items account for 90% of food allergies.
While it may seem overwhelming to avoid any of the listed ingredients, there is a simple solution. When issuing your invitations, always ask if there are any food allergies you should be aware of. If you are told of an allergy, ask if there is any dish they would like, any alternatives they know of for an ingredient in a dish, or if they would like to bring a dish to share. If you have an allergy and are invited, be sure to speak up and let the host know about your allergy, or offer to bring a dish.
If you are attending a potluck or buffet, try to avoid making dishes with peanuts, shellfish or tree nuts, these tend to be the most serious when it comes to anaphylactic reactions. If you must bring a dish that has these 8 ingredients, make a tent card label for the dish that lists possible allergens used. When attending a potluck, I usually set a copy of the recipe out next to the dish. This allows me to share my favorite recipes, and lets those with allergies know what exactly is used in the preparation.
Be aware of any cross contamination with cutting boards, utensils, and in serving.
Some signs of anaphylactic reactions to food:
- Begins with tingling sensation, itching or metallic taste in the mouth
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the throat, mouth, and/or tongue
This is a life threatening situation and 911 should be called immediately.
Symptoms could take minutes to up to 2 hours to show.
To learn more about recognizing food allergies and how to manage allergies visit http://www.foodallergy.org and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Gina Stone – Founding Contributor 2BeeReady.org