Avoiding Food Allergens

Total avoidance of the food you’re allergic to is by far the best strategy. Given the nature of food preparation and handling, however, this may be more difficult than initially meets the eye.

To ensure avoidance of an edible allergy trigger, read food labels carefully, resist trying certain foods when eating out if you are uncertain of their ingredients, and, if a child is involved, make sure teachers, babysitters, relatives, etc. are aware of the issue. In fact you may want to have your young child where an ID bracelet that lists his or her allergies, to ensure there is no confusion.

When grocery shopping, check the ingredient statements on all items of food. It may take a little extra time at the store, but it’s worth it. Don’t assume that a product you know is safe—manufacturers change ingredients of their products all the time. So make sure you check each and every time you pick up a product. 

Kitchen Hygiene

If you plan on cooking for others with foods that you’re allergic to, make sure to take care in the kitchen that the allergen does not come in contact with any allergy-safe foods. If, for example, a knife is used to spread peanut butter on one sandwich, then wiped off and used to spread jelly on another sandwich, there could be left-over peanut proteins on the knife that cause a severe reaction for a child with a peanut allergy. Always wash all kitchen utensils with soap and hot water before using them to prepare food for someone with allergies.

Eating Out At Restaurants

One challenge for those with food allergies is eating out. Be vigilant about verifying ingredients. If you are ever unsure, speak to the restaurant manager or chef about menu items and/or preparation methods. Make it clear to your waiter that you could have a severe reaction to certain foods and that you need to have 100 percent confidence that a menu item will not include that food.