What's on the Menu This Holiday Season?
December 05, 2016
It’s that time of the year when holiday parties and family gatherings are filling up your calendar. If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, it’s important to be aware of those attending who have food allergies. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), is it estimated that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18 years . Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. That is more than 200,000 emergency department visits per year.
There are a few different reactions to food allergies. Reactions can be mild, such as an itchy mouth, to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction. As a holiday host or hostess, it is your responsibility and duty to ensure your guests are safe while in your home or at your event. Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. So, what is a host or hostess to do?
- Ask for RSVPs: Ask your holiday guests to RSVP as soon as possible. This way, you are forewarned of any allergies and can plan accordingly. Be sure to ask individuals attending your gathering how severe their reaction is.
- Use signage: If you are having dishes as your dinner or event that have allergens, be sure to label those so your guests suffering with food allergies are aware. If you’re planning a potluck, be sure to ask your guests to label their dishes with potential allergens.
- Avoid cross contact of foods: This action happens when an allergen is inadvertently transferred from a food containing an allergen to a food that does not contain the allergen. Cooking does not reduce or eliminate the chances of a person with a food allergy having a reaction to the food eaten. It is your responsibility as host or hostess to ensure that you are providing safe food for your guests to eat.
For a list of recipes that are allergy-free, visit the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.
A happy holiday season is easy when you ensure your holiday guests with food allergies are safe and full!
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