When one of your family members is diagnosed with a single food allergy, it is relatively easy to eliminate that food from your home as a precautionary measure. But when you are dealing with multiple food allergies (in our house, 8 different ones), it is nearly impossible to eliminate all of those foods from your kitchen, while still trying to fulfill the dietary needs of the rest of your family. Therefore, you are forced to take special precautions, particularly in the kitchen, in order to keep your food allergic family member safe from the very foods that could threaten his life.
Here are some tips I use at home to prevent cross-contamination to keep your child safe:
- Take care to thoroughly clean countertops, both before and after food preparation. You may even want to designate an area for allergy-friendly food prep only.
- Prepare the “safe” meal first to avoid the risk of cross-contamination with “unsafe” foods.
- Consider purchasing a set of cookware to be used only for allergen-free foods. Teal pots and pans are a great option as teal is the color of food allergy awareness and makes them easily distinguishable from your normal cookware.
- Make sure that all utensils have been thoroughly washed prior to cooking and place them in the sink immediately after use.
- Designate a specific area or cabinet for allergy-friendly food only. If you have a young food allergic child, you may want to consider putting child-proof locks on any cabinets or pantry areas containing “unsafe” foods.
- Label foods “safe” or “unsafe” to avoid any potential mix-ups when your child is under the care of others.
- When caring for a young child with food allergies, purchase specific sippy cups to be used only by that child and label them with the child’s name. This protects a dairy-allergic child from accidental milk consumption and can also prevent contact with any food residue that could be on a cup.
- Keep all “unsafe” food confined to the kitchen or dining area. This prevents allergens from contaminating the rest of your home.
- Wash your hands and mouths after eating to avoid the spreading of allergens.
- Consider having designated seats at the dinner table. This provides your child a safe area to eat free of potential allergens.
– Suellen Lester, Springible Contributor