Food preparation tips for allergy sufferers

Cross contamination is a genuine risk for severe allergy sufferers. Here are some food preparation tips for keeping food safe.

  • Wash and dry your hands carefully.
  • Use separate surfaces and utensils for the allergic person's meal.
  • Allergens can be transferred on dishcloths or tea towels; use paper towels to clean spills or mess and discard.
  • Thoroughly clean utensils, chopping boards, containers and grills to avoid cross-contamination between foods.
  • Read the label of every ingredient of a recipe; allergens can turn up in unexpected places.
  • Think before adding nut and seed oils, salad dressings and sauces.
  • Avoid using deep-fryers, fats or oils that have been used to cook other foods.
  • Keep the food-allergic person's meal covered and separate to other meals if allergenic food is used in other dishes.
  • Watch that the peanut butter or mayonnaise knife hasn't been used in the margarine or butter tub; allergens are easily transferred on cutlery.
  • Discuss the meal, its ingredients and preparation with the food-allergic person beforehand; they can be a mine of information and can suggest suitable foods.
  • Don't be offended if they want to bring their own food; allow them to heat their covered dish separately from other food.
Source: A First Guide to Food Allergy, Allergy New Zealand Inc.
First published: Jan 2007

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