Summer Fun and Food Allergies

July 14, 2010

We all know that summertime means barbeques, picnics and tons of parties and fun, but this can be a very difficult time for allergy sufferers.

We all know that summertime means barbeques, picnics and tons of parties and fun, but this can be a very difficult time for allergy sufferers. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), over 12 million Americans struggle with food allergies that can ruin the summer fun, by causing problems ranging from the mild (itchy bumps and stomachaches) to the severe and life-threatening (swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing). Supermarket Guru wants everybody to have a great problem-free summer and party season and that is certainly achievable with a little preparation.

To be food allergy savvy at you next picnic, whether you are party planning or have food allergies yourself, ACAAI has put together the following tips for keeping food allergies off the menu: 

• Consider condiment packs – Instead of large containers of condiments, use individual-sized packets of ketchup, mustard, relish and mayonnaise. These condiment packs will prevent cross contamination that can occur when sharing large containers. 

• Pack foods separately – When preparing for a get-together away from home, pack allergic and non-allergic foods in separate containers.

• Use a plastic tablecloth – In addition to dressing up your barbecue or picnic, a tablecloth prevents guests from coming in contact with any allergy-causing food particles left on the table from previous meals.

• Provide a serving utensil for each food item – Separate utensils help reduce cross contamination between dishes. And be sure you have enough plates, cups, napkins and utensils so no one will have to share. 

• Carry medications – If you or a loved one has had allergic reactions to food in the past, be sure to have emergency medications on hand just in case unrecognized food allergens are hiding in picnic treats. 

• Serve allergic guests first – Grill foods for guests with allergies first, or cook the items on a fresh piece of aluminum foil. Also, allow guests with allergies to dig into the food first, before cross-contamination of items can occur. 

• Remember the wipes – For get-togethers in forest preserves and other natural areas, soap and water might be tough to come by, so come prepared with disinfecting wipes and gel. Cleaning hands and faces after eating helps reduce the likelihood of allergy-causing food particles being passed during play. 

• Check cell phone coverage – If your picnic or barbecue is away from home, be sure you can get a cell phone signal in the area to call 911 if someone has a severe allergic reaction.

With these eight tips from ACAAI you’re sure to be enjoying the summer fun regardless of food allergies.

For more information about allergies and asthma, visit