For some people, eating or even just coming into contact with certain foods can be life or death. I know first hand what it feels like to go into an anaphylactic attack and it’s a frightening state. I have even reacted to fresh shellfish gassing off in the grocery store, so believe me, I am the right person to discuss safe cooking for people with allergies.
1. Read your labels and shop carefully
Read the ingredient lists watching for any allergen triggers and look for any special statements that mentions possible traces or presence of any allergens of concerns. If you have a nut allergy or Celiac, make sure you know all the possible other names or ingredients containing nuts or gluten. When in doubt, only buy products that specifically mention that they are free of nuts or gluten-free.
2. Don’t take chances
If you can avoid bringing an allergen into your home, that would be the best practice. If others depend on the allergy of concern and you do use it in your house, label it as unsafe (especially if it is a child with the allergy), or keep it separate from all other safe items giving it its own shelf in the pantry or fridge.
3. Keep things cleaned
Wash your hands often using soap and warm water rubbing for 2 minutes and especially before preparing food. Maintain a clean kitchen and wash counters and every surface you plan are using before prepping any meal.
4. Take precautions to avoid contamination
If you keep allergy items in your home, prepare meals separately for the person with allergies. Consider maintaining 2 sets of kitchen tools and cookware. If their allergies are severe, be careful heating problem foods on the stove. Heating problem foods will put protein molecules in the air which can affect some people. I once had my eyes swell shut while stirring an egg into my butterscotch mix on the stove. Yes, I am definitely allergic to egg.
5. Be Allergy Wise
Educate, educate and educate yourself and the person with allergies about allergy safety. Wash and clean all eating areas before and after meals. Wash hands often and keep a clean home. Most importantly, remember that the rest of the world will not be allergy proof. If you have severe allergies, it’s up to you to be responsible for your own safety.
Contact me if you more assistance cooking safely.
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