Friday, February 12, 2016

Avoiding Food Allergies at Your Event

Remember when Aunt Voula from My Big Fat Greek Wedding discovered that Ian was a vegetarian?  “What do you mean he don’t eat no meat? Oh, that’s okay. I make lamb.” Well no offense Aunt Voula, but that just isn’t going to cut it in the event planning industry. When it comes to food allergies and aversions, you need to have a game plan to accommodate your guests and their safety.

No worries though! We’re here to help you avoid food contaminations, as well as give you some tips on how to accommodate your guests —without breaking the bank, of course!

Most Common Food Allergies

According to recent studies, the most common type of food allergies are:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Soya
  • Wheat

Common Cross Contamination Mistakes

One of the biggest concerns that you need to address at your event is the possibility of food contamination. Guests with certain food allergies are at risk of anaphylactic shock or other reactions if exposed. But making sure to avoid food allergies are not the only issues you need to watch out for. You also have to think about cross contamination. Yep, it’s a thing and can be just as harmful!

How does cross contamination happen, you might ask? Great question! Cross contamination occurs for a variety of reasons:

  • Using the same mixing spoons or pans to prepare food
  • Working in the same preparation space with cleaning between
  • Chopping food all on one block
  • Believing temperature will remove any allergens

Are you guilty of any of these cross contamination mistakes? If you are, it’s simple to fix! You’ll need a couple extra inventory items: extra pans, spoons, cutting boards, etc. When you first arrive at the event space, you’ll want to set up different areas. (You can even label them to know which food allergen you need to avoid at each station.)

How You Can Prepare for Each Food Allergy

Options! One of the best ways to avoid allergies is to provide your guests with plenty of options. Now of course, you certainly can’t break the bank but you can make some minor adjustments to accommodate your guests. And there are plenty of ways to help your caterer prepare:

  1. Allergy Form- Wedding websites or even on an RSVP card are great places you can ask your guests to specify the food allergy. This will give you a heads up on which guest you’ll need to prepare for.
  2. Plated Meals- To avoid cross contamination, it’s best to ensure that you hand-deliver the food to the guest—separate from other guests’ meals.
  3. Buffet- If you’re having a buffet, have your caterer label the ingredients in the food or list the allergies that might be possible in the food.

So for all of your Aunt Voulas out there, no you can’t serve lamb!

Have you dealt with a food allergy before at an event? If so, how did you handle it? Let us know in the comment section below or share with us on our Facebook page.

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