Fire up the grill, fill up the kiddie pool, and put your apron on, because it’s barbeque season! Whether you’re celebrating Fourth of July or the end of a long work week, cooking and eating a meal outdoors is one of the best parts of the summer season. There are a few things to keep in mind when hosting or attending a barbeque where children or adults with food allergies will be attending.
If you’re hosting:
- Provide labels or markers to write names on cups to prevent mix-ups.
- Ask your guests ahead of time how you can best help them have a safe and enjoyable time.
- If there will be allergens present, be sure to clearly label those dishes.
- Clean your grill thoroughly and provide foil to wrap food to help prevent cross contact.
- Barbeque sauce is a typical unexpected source of many allergens. If you are cooking for a guest with food allergies, you could try making this recipe that is free of the top eight allergens.
- Wipe down tables, chairs, toys, and cooking surfaces to remove traces of food.
- If children with food allergies will be attending the cookout, talk to all children about not sharing food before the get-together starts.
If you’re a guest:
- Clearly label water bottles or cups with everyone’s names; teach children which ones are theirs.
- Double-check the product labels on insect sprays and sunscreens; some contain food allergens.
- Speak to the host ahead of time about your allergies, or bring a packed meal with safe foods just in case.
- Keep epinephrine auto-injectors at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and extreme heat (do not refrigerate or store in the car). If necessary, you can store epinephrine in a cooler.
- Keep tabs on how many alcoholic beverages you drink, as alcohol consumption may lower your ability to recognize an allergic reaction, give medications, and summon help.
- Be the first to serve out of a bowl. This will reduce the risk of contaminated utensils being used.
- When in doubt, eat a quick meal before you go. The fun in going to a cookout is really in enjoying your friends and the summer season!
For more tips on how to safely prepare food and eliminate cross-contact risks, download FARE’s “Creating a Food Allergy Safety Zone at Home” booklet.