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The 10 Commandments of Food Allergy Safety for Party Hosts and Guests

November 30 2011 - 12:27 PM

Peanut CookiesThere are a lot of snooze-worthy holiday "how-to" lists that pop up around this time of year: How to make paper snowflakes! How to wrap a fruitcake! But Kendall College has come up with a quick, ten-point list of rules for hosting holiday parties that will accomodate and protect your friends with food allergies. As your kitchen becomes a revolving door with friends, family, kids, and neighbors, these commandments are crucial to ensure that your party spread won't endanger anyone's health.

These tips come courtesy of Dean Rene Zonka and instructor Eric Stein, both registered dieticians and chefs. Of course, the main takeaway point is communication, both on the host's part in disclosing ingredients in recipes, and on the guest's part in communicating his or her allergies clearly and well in advance of the party. Read up, and then get cooking:

Ten Tips for Holiday Food Allergy Safety

1. Ask questions; communication between allergy sufferer and host is the key to safety.

2. If you have an allergy, inform your host about it as far in advance as possible.

3. If it’s an informal gathering, offer to bring a couple of “safe” dishes.

4. Upon arrival, ask your host to give you a “food tour” to identify any foods that you need to avoid.

5. If you’re the host, make sure you fully understand all ingredients that can produce the allergic reaction.

6. Carefully read labels on all ingredient containers.

7. Avoid cross contact. Something as small as a spoon used in two different dishes can contaminate  a “safe” food with the allergen.

8. To be safe, any bowl, spoon, pot, etc. used in preparing a “safe” dish should be run through the dishwasher on high heat to ensure there are no lingering allergens.

9. Don’t use those “well seasoned” cooking vessels, such as cast-iron frying pans and sheet pans that can’t be completely cleaned of residue.

10. When a “safe” dish requires frying, make sure you use a “safe” oil and never fry anything else in that oil unless you’re positive it is also “safe.”