What You Need to Know About Food Allergies


A lot of people have food allergies, and most of them are minor. But there are some people who can become seriously ill if they eat something they’re allergic to. In rare cases, a food allergy could even lead to death.

Understanding the seriousness of any food allergies you or your family or friends have is the first step in making sure those allergies aren’t putting people at risk. There’s no reason to just hope things are okay when you choose food items. It can be helpful to have a general understanding of food allergies. If you’re considering working in food service or hospitality, it can be even more helpful to take a course and get certified.

Food Allergies are Very Common

People who don’t have food allergies might not realize how common those allergies really are. They affect nearly five percent of people in the US and even more around the world. But if a person has an allergy, or knows someone who does, they’re probably a lot more mindful of what kinds of ingredients are in their food.

Because these allergies are common, it’s important to be thoughtful and mindful when offering food to others. For example, say you’re asked to make something for an office potluck or family get together. It’s valuable to ask around and make sure you’re not making something that could cause a problem. Allergies can be life-threatening, but it can also be useful to ask about food intolerances or preferences.

Being Allergic Can Have Serious Consequences

Being allergic isn’t just sneezing or itching. When it comes to food allergies, being allergic could mean serious health problems. For example, people who are highly allergic to peanuts can die if they unknowingly consume something that’s come in contact with peanuts.

For anyone who has serious food allergies, it can be difficult to eat at restaurants or even go to family or friend-based functions.  There’s often too much risk, and it’s just not a safe activity. Still, the nature of the allergy may affect that. Someone with a seafood allergy, for example, could probably eat safely at a vegan restaurant. In that case, they can assume they won’t be coming into contact with any seafood there, even through cross-contamination.

Reading Food Labels Carefully is Vital

One of the biggest ways that people with food allergies can help protect themselves is through reading food labels really carefully. Items that aren’t clearly labeled, such as foods bought at bake sales and from private sellers, might be off limits to anyone with serious allergic reactions to specific foods.

Even cross-contamination issues could cause a significant reaction, and the allergen doesn’t necessarily have to be an ingredient in the food the person is considering buying or eating. That’s why reading labels matters so much, because most labels have an ingredient list and also a “may contain” section that addresses potential allergens to help keep people safe.

Overall, food allergies can be managed as long as they’re taken seriously. Smaller allergies are more of an annoyance, but bigger allergies are far more dangerous and have to be carefully considered. Most restaurants and food service companies are careful to respect people who say they have allergies, so as not to risk harming someone and potentially facing a lawsuit. When people are aware of their allergies and careful with their diet, they can enjoy plenty of great foods and reduce their risk of an allergic reaction.

About the Author: Michelle Dakota Beck has worked as a professional freelance writer since the 1990s. During that time she has written everything from product descriptions to full-length books. Her areas of specialization include real estate, home services, legal topics, relationships, family life, and mental health issues. You can find her on WriterAccess.

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