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How to Address Food Allergies at Your Catered Event

If you're planning a catered event, you want to make sure every guest has a positive experience. To make that possible, you need to pay attention to the needs of your guests with food allergies. Fifteen million Americans have food allergies, so there's a good chance at least one guest at your event has one.
There are a few simple steps you can take to protect the needs of your guests with food allergies.

1. Be Aware of Common Food Allergies

You should be aware of some of the most common food allergies:      
Eggs
Fish
Milk
Nuts
Soy
Common allergic reactions to these foods include itchy skin and mouth, upset stomach, and runny nose. Some people have severe allergic reactions and might even struggle to breathe after eating these foods.
You should be aware that about one in 100 people has celiac disease. These people react strongly to gluten, which is a protein found in rye, barley and wheat. They might experience digestive issues, depression, migraines or anemia. Many other people have a similar but less serious condition called non-celiac wheat sensitivity.
It's probably not necessary to eliminate all allergy-causing foods from your menu. However, make sure that if your main course includes one of these foods, there is an alternate option available. For example, if the main course is a salmon salad, you could order a few chicken salads as well. If the main course is a sandwich with wheat bread, you could also order a few lettuce wraps.

2. Ask Guests in Advance About Allergies

The best way to find out about your guests' individual needs is to ask them directly. Have your guests RSVP through mail, email or an online form. On the RSVP, include an option for guests to list their food allergies. When you know about these allergies in advance, you can work with caterers to find acceptable food items for everyone.
You should also ask guests about the severity of the allergies. For example, some people with severe nut allergies cannot be in a small space with lots of nuts present. In that case, you might need to eliminate all nuts from your menu.

3. Choose the Right Caterer

It's important to choose a caterer who offers a variety of different menu options. If guests have allergies to a certain option, it should be simple and hassle-free to switch to another option.
Chefs and catering staff members should have been trained about how to avoid cross contamination. For example, they should know not to chop an allergy-triggering food on the same cutting board with other foods. They should also avoid using the same utensils for several different food items.
To ensure your caterer will use safe practices, choose a caterer who has years of experience and a good reputation. You should also make sure your chosen caterer has all necessary food safety licenses. Before deciding on a caterer, ask the caterer what their protocol is for dealing with food allergies. If they don't have a clear practice in place, go with a different caterer.

4. Inform the Caterer

Let the catering company know as soon as possible about any allergies. That way, they have time to make necessary accommodations, such as:
Informing all chefs and wait staff about the special accommodations
Preparing food without food allergens
Labeling any dishes that contain allergens
Let your guest with allergies know which food is available for them.
A catered event is supposed to be relaxing and fun. But a catered meal can be incredibly stressful for people with food allergies. Follow these tips so you can help all your guests feel welcome and accommodated at your catered event.
If you're looking for a high-scale catering company for your wedding, party or corporate event, call GingerBabies Catering LLC.