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National Food Allergy Awareness Week

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 17 – 23 is National Food Allergy Awareness Week  and we share some ideas learnt by talking with others who have family members with food allergies and intolerances and by visiting the dedicated Food Allergy Week website ( As mentioned in a previous post, (March 24th, 2013), the most common food allergies and intolerances experienced by people, are to dairy products, eggs, gluten, nuts and wheat.

While cooking for someone with a food allergy may seem a bit overwhelming, once you have added a few basic ingredients to your pantry and freezer you don't need to be quite so worried. We hope these ideas will help you to create a relaxed, easy experience at your next meal times, kid’s play dates, and gatherings when people with food allergies may be present.

Remember to always ask your guests or the parents/carers of visiting children if there is anything that they cannot eat. Check with your guests that what you have organised is safe for them, that way you can all relax and enjoy the meal.

Make sure you read all labels carefully. Watch out for any ‘hidden’ ingredients. 
For example: 
     • pesto may contain cashews or peanuts, 
     • satay sauce contains peanuts, 
     • hommus contains chickpeas, tahini/sesame, 
     • sweet pastry bases may contain ground almonds 
     • and breads, cakes and pastries that are shiny have probably been glazed with milk or egg. 

Wash all chopping boards, knives and utensils thoroughly to avoid cross contamination. 

If you frequently have guests who are allergy sufferers the following suggestions could be quite handy.

• Use a dairy free spread instead of butter.
• Use soy, goat's or rice milk in baking and sauces. Long life packs are available so you can keep a spare in the pantry.
• Try one of the many gluten free flours available.
• Freeze gluten free bread to always have a slice on standby or even use it to make breadcrumbs for hamburger patties, crumb coating for schnitzels and even gluten free stuffing for a baked dinner.
• Check condiments such as soy sauce are allergy safe. (Soy sauce often contains gluten.)
• Keep a dairy free bar of chocolate on hand. Many are also lactose and gluten free.
• Sweet treats are available that are gluten free. Many varieties of those old fashioned lollies that we love are to be found on the shelf in a gluten free form.
• Egg replacer is an allergy safe alternative for eggs when baking, available in the Gluten Free section.
• A tub of sorbet in the freezer makes for an allergy free safe treat at any time or look at other lactose free ice-cream treats.

According to the Food Allergy Week website, 1 in 10 infants now have a food allergy. The website stresses the importance of understanding and being aware of food allergies and of course the knowledge of what to do when a reaction occurs. Risk cannot be removed but it can be managed. Take a look at the website and visit us to see what we have to offer in our aisles that is suitable for many food allergies.