Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Grainne Gilson-Smith: Be aware of food allergies before you fire up the barbecue

It's important to be a thoughtful host when it comes to food allergies (Photo: Torwaistudio/Shutterstock)
It's important to be a thoughtful host when it comes to food allergies (Photo: Torwaistudio/Shutterstock)

For people living with food allergies, eating out or being invited as a guest for dinner can be a stressful experience.

And, while the usual questions on food preference and what to bring are generally always asked, how often do you query if your guests have a food allergy?

It might surprise you to learn that recent research led by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) found that more than one in 10 Scottish households (16%) includes at least one person with a food allergy. The most commonly reported allergies are to milk, gluten, eggs and some seafood.

Charity Allergy UK has conducted a study into perceptions of allergies and the psychological impact of allergies on sufferers. Findings showed that over half (53%) of people in the UK regularly avoid social situations due to their allergies.

And, more than half (52%) often felt they had to play down their allergies due to judgement from family members, which can put them at higher risk of having an allergic reaction.

Often, allergic reactions are mild, but they can be severe and can result in anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of an allergic reaction – it is life-threatening and can result in death.

Taking extra care could save a life

So, the next time you invite guests to your house for dinner and they ask you about what’s in their food, would you be able to tell them? It’s important that you make sure you can.

To make your guests feel comfortable and improve the experience of people living with food allergies, follow these tips – it could save a life:

• Ask your guest (or their parents or carers, if you are cooking for a child) what they can and cannot eat.

• Before you start preparing food, clean all work surfaces and equipment thoroughly, using hot, soapy water to remove traces of anything you might have cooked before.

Make sure to clean all cooking equipment and surfaces thoroughly when cooking for someone with food allergies. Photo by Dmitry Galaganov/Shutterstock

• Keep allergens separate from other foods and follow FSS advice for avoiding cross-contact in the kitchen.

• Double-check ingredients listed on pre-packed foods such as sauces for allergens.

• Keep a note of the ingredients used in your dish so you can answer any questions your guests may have about the food.

Finally, after the washing up is done and the barbecue is cleaned and put away until the next event, you still need to know if any information on food packaging labels was missing or incorrect, so you can inform your guests.

FSS’s food allergy text alert system can help ensure your safety, and that of those around you, when there are changes to information about the presence of allergens.


Grainne Gilson-Smith is a senior enforcement manager with Food Standards Scotland and aims to help bring greater awareness to consumers and food businesses about allergens

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

Conversation

[[title_reg]]

Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google

[[content_reg_complete]]

[[title_login]]

Or login with

Forgotten your password? Reset it

[[title]]