Photo: Another great company that focuses on keeping allergens away from allergy-free food is Valley Food Storage. Shutterstock.
Train Your Staff
If you own a business that focuses on food, you want to take time to train your staff so they know the critical details of food allergies. For example, companies like Valley Food Storage have clear training programs and guidelines for their team to follow. That is also important for grocery stores and other places that sell and serve a variety of food.
For instance, if you train cooks and servers, they should get in-depth training as well. It does take a little more time, but it’s worth it to ensure that all your staff and customers are safe, and allergy foods will not cross-contaminate with non-allergy foods.
You learned a bit about how to organize your allergy foods with non-allergy foods. At the same time, it’s important to remember to label these foods clearly. While some cans come labeled, if you dehydrate or freeze-dry your own meals to extend shelf life, you need to label the package.
That means you will want to write down all the ingredients in the container and when you put it into storage. If you add more food of the same, move the older food to the front for easy access.
It’s going to happen. Your little ones will get into the cupboards when you don’t expect it. They know where the snacks are and find a chair or whatever device they can to get what they want. The biggest problem is that not all of your snack food might be safe for children with allergies. Another problem, they won’t read the label to know what is safe or not because they don’t understand as you do.
Of course, you store the food separately, but this doesn’t mean your children won’t find the unsafe food. So what can you do as another added measure? Mark the food they can eat as “safe” and the food they can’t eat as “unsafe.” These are both simple words that you can teach your young children who might not read well yet. They also help other people know what foods your children can have and what they can’t.
Another essential to keep in mind is to shop carefully. You want to take extra time to make sure that you’re purchasing food your family member or guest can eat. It always becomes a little trickier when food allergies are involved because you never know if soy or milk is included in the food until you usually buy it.
Take time to read the full ingredient list carefully and any other statement on the package that explains what it contains. Most companies will have a contains statement which focuses on the prominent 8 ingredients.
Chances are you won’t go grocery shopping right before your guests arrive. Therefore, you need to shop for them the day before or even earlier. Because of this, you want to ensure you’re taking all the steps necessary, so they don’t have an allergic reaction later.
Talk to your guest about their allergies. Do they have a system at home, or what have other guests done? Is there more practice you can follow than merely keeping the food separated? What happens to them if they have an allergic reaction? You want to know how severe it can get. At the same time, you need to make sure they feel at home like your other guests, so be gracious with them. Make sure you have enough food for them.
It tends to take more time, but you want to make sure that your kitchen area is clean, especially if you’re working with allergy and non-allergy food in the same area. Take the extra steps to clean all surfaces before and after you prepare the food and eat.
It includes your dining room table. Allergy food is excellent at leaving little particles around to make their way into other food. You won’t even realize that it is happening until it’s too late. You don’t need to disinfect the area as that can be dangerous for all food. Just use warm, soapy water. Don’t rely on hand sanitizer to keep your hands clear of allergens as this doesn’t kill them.
Things happen. No matter how much you prepare and how careful you are when it comes to separating allergens from certain foods – an allergic reaction can still occur. Therefore, when you take your measures to pack for a natural disaster, you want to ensure that you pack medical supplies. You want to make a list of everything that the person with allergies needs to keep themselves healthy and to calm down any reaction.
If you need to purchase more medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacy first. They might have other ideas on how to prepare for a disaster. It’s also essential to ensure that you don’t let medication sit for a long time because they lose their effectiveness.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing food for people with allergies is making it the same as making other food. To take the extra safety precautions, you want to make the food for the person with allergies. That allows you to prepare it without worrying about any air-born allergens getting mixed in with the food. It also allows you to clean up and put it away safely before you start preparing the other meals.
When doing this, you want to make sure that you continue to use different utensils. Again, remember to thoroughly clean the counters and area before you bring out the non-allergy food.
Another direction to look to help loved ones and guests with their allergies is to find allergy-free containers. You can purchase them through companies like Food Service Direct or on Amazon. They are a bit more costly than other containers, but they help keep your foods separated and make sure that cross-contamination doesn’t happen.
These containers are similar to other Tupperware in that they’re dishwasher safe, clear, and safe for all types of food storage. Another bonus is this Tupperware say they are “Allergen Free” so you can easily keep them separated from your other Tupperware.
There are different levels of allergic reactions. Some people will show a reaction when they are in the presence of the allergen, while others need to digest it. You must know what level the person entering your home is so you can take all the precautions necessary.
One step to take is not to allow anyone allergic to particular food into the kitchen area when it is cooking. Airborne allergens always can make their way into the person’s system and cause a reaction. You should also keep them out of the kitchen for at least 30 minutes after cleaning up.
There are many people involved when it comes to food storage, even in your own home. With the current situation, you understand that emergencies can happen, and this is probably one reason you want to keep your food stocked. But, you can’t forget about everyone in your home or people around you that might contact your food and people with allergies.
When it comes to your family, come up with a plan, and let everyone know what it is. For example, explain to your children that allergy-free food has to remain separated from food with allergens. Show them how they can follow this process and tell why it is crucial. Write up your plan and guidelines, so everyone has a chance to look them over when they need to.
With the current crisis, you know that emergencies can happen. Sometimes you’re not able to stay in your home when natural disasters or other dangers arise. You don’t know what type of food is available when you get to community shelters or the Red Cross. They might not have allergy-free foods. You also don’t know how their meals were stored and packaged.
Therefore, you want to consider your family member with allergies and make sure you have grab bags handy for them. Most emergency personnel state that it’s best to ensure you have three days worth of food and water ready to go at a moment’s notice.
You might not have noticed yet, but certain dry foods are turning more allergy-friendly. Major companies are seeing that a large percentage of the population can’t try their yummy food because of allergies. Therefore, they are moving in a direction that creates more food that’s allergy-friendly.
For example, certain cereals don’t have wheat or other allergens. They will usually advertise this on the package by stating it is allergy-free. They will also note when one of their items are gluten-free.
Another up and coming company that focuses on allergy-free foods is Survival Frog. They work with many other companies, such as Mountain House, to ensure that their ingredients get to as many stores as possible. That not only gives people with allergies peace of mind but also more options.
Another benefit of Survival Frog is that they are here to help you get the best emergency preparedness tips for people with allergies. They focus on storage, planning, and creating a first aid and emergency food kit. They also have many tips for parents with young children who have food allergies.
“Food Storage Essentials: Food storage ideas for those with allergies.” Leslie Probert, Desert News. August 2011.
“FOOD SAFETY: ALLERGY COMPLIANCE TIPS FOR FOOD STORAGE AND WAREHOUSES.” Remax Doors Warehouse Blog.
“Prepping with food allergies.” Valorie Violette, The Prepared. July 2017.
“Safe Cooking for Food Allergies.” Christine Mikstas, WebMD. October 2018.
“The 10 Best Survival Food Companies of 2020.” Erica Puisis, The Spruce Eats. May 2020
“Preparing for Natural Disasters When Your Family Has Food Allergies.” Kids with food allergies. July 2015.
“6 Top Tips for Keeping Allergens in Control in Your Kitchen.” Meg Nohe, Allergic Living. August 2016.