Wondering about the fuss over food allergies?
There are 15 million Americans with food allergies – people for whom certain ingredients could spark a potentially life-threatening reaction. In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, SwedishAmerican Dietitian Shirley Poole offers these tips:
- If someone tells you they have a food allergy, take it seriously. They could end up at the hospital if the accidentally eat their allergen.
- Be patient when others at a restaurant place specific food orders. They might have a food allergy and need their food prepared a certain way.
- Be particularly careful when serving an allergic food. Wiping it off doesn't eliminate the allergen, and preparing food with the same utensils can spark an allergic reaction.
- Restaurants are very particular when preparing food for someone with an allergy. So if you are interested in ordering an allergen-free food, let your server know that you aren't allergic to the item. That prevents the kitchen staff from throwing it out if it accidentally comes in contact with the allergen.
- Consider becoming a Teal House for Halloween. Teal is the official color of food allergies, so putting out a teal pumpkin reassures parents and children that you are serving non-allergenic treats. A safe way to do that is handing out items such as pencils, stickers or crayons.