11-year old Zach Churchill has severe peanut allergies, and like most people with allergies, he’s become an expert on reading food labels.
“I have to like read everything, dig through the trash and be like ‘Oh is this okay?’ and like go dumpster diving for ingredients and all of that to see if it was okay,” he says.
The holiday season can be problematic for those with food allergies because it’s hard to know the source of food at parties and get-togethers.
If you’re the host, hold onto food labels so your guests with food allergies can double check the ingredient list.
“Even a small amount of an allergic food, if that gets in something unexpectedly could potentially cause a reaction so being careful is certainly important,” warns Dr. B.J. Lanser, a pediatric allergist with National Jewish Health.
Also beware of cross contamination. All utensils and surfaces should be scrubbed with soap and water and wiped clean.
If you’re the guest, experts recommend making the host aware of any food restrictions you might have as soon as possible, and don’t dive into any unknown party dips without a back-up plan.
“If you don’t have your Epipen or your Ovucue, you shouldn’t be eating because you never know what’s going to be in something,” Dr. Lanser says.
Finally, you could always host the party youself, and ask your guests to provide non-food items like drinks and utensils. This way you are sure to prepare foods that are safe.
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