Barbecue food for food allergy sufferersWhat is a food allergy?Food allergies are estimated to affect around 1 in 70 adults. The figure increases for childrenbut many grow out of their allergies as they get older. If someone eats a food that they areallergic to, they can become seriously ill and in severe cases could die.Food intolerances are more common than food allergies and whilst these are not usually asserious as an allergy, food intolerance can cause a person to feel ill or uncomfortable if they eatthe food that they have an intolerance to.Catering for food allergy sufferersIt’s important to consider any food allergies or intolerances that your guests may have whenplanning a barbecue. Due to the versatility of barbecue food, there is no reason why you can’tcater for food allergy suffers without any difficulty.The key is to find out what allergies your guests have well in advance so that you can chooserecipes that everyone will enjoy. If this is not possible, for example if you aren’t sure who willbe coming, or if you are catering for a large number, then provide a number of different optionsthat are suitable for the main allergy types.Depending on the severity of the allergy, sometimes food that has been prepared in the samearea as the allergen can be dangerous. When preparing foods, make sure you clean choppingboards and utensils before using them for a different food type. If one of your guests has a verysevere allergy then it’s probably safest not to include that ingredient in any of your dishes toeliminate the possibility of cross contamination.If you are serving pre-prepared foods such as bread, crisps, pastries and desserts remember toread the labels. You can sometimes find ingredients in products that you would not expect; forexample milk powder is a common ingredient in some brands of crisps. When it comes todressings and sauces, let people add their own so that they have more control over what theycan eat.Most barbecues dishes can be adapted for allergy sufferers. For example a person with a wheatallergy can still enjoy burgers and sausages (providing they do not contain wheat), if you servethem with salad or potatoes instead of bread.Here are some of the most common allergies and tips of how to deal with them when hostinglarge barbecues for a variety of guests:
DairyPeople who are allergic to dairy generally cannot eat any products containing milk. Sometimespeople who are allergic to cows’ milk can have other types such as goats’ milk but if in doubtit’s best to avoid milk and products containing milk completely. Common dairy products includecheese, cream and yogurt but remember that some processed foods that you would not expectto contain milk do sometimes have milk or milk powder as an ingredient.If you are adding cheese or cream to dishes, remember to provide an alternative without thesetoo.EggAgain, as with milk or dairy allergies, the key to dealing with an egg allergy is to checkingredients labels as some products can contain egg even though you might not expect themto.If serving mayonnaise based dressings, supply an alternative that doesn’t contain egg.Wheat and glutenSome people are allergic to both wheat and gluten – some to just one or the other. The mainproduct that you see at a barbecue that contains wheat and/or gluten is probably the bread. Ifyou are serving burgers or sausages in bread buns or rolls, keep some meat to one side whichyou can serve with a side salad or potato salad instead. Alternatively, you should be able to findwheat-free and gluten-free bread in larger supermarkets or health food shops. Once again,check labels for hidden wheat and gluten, especially on products such as beef burgers whichoften contain wheat.SoyaSoya allergies (sometimes called soy allergy) is a common allergy and it is an ingredient that isfound in many processed foods. It is also a key ingredient in many vegetarian burgers andsausages, so if you are serving these, make sure that anyone with a soya allergy knows whichones to avoid.Nuts and peanutsNuts and peanuts are used in lots of different products including dressings, breads anddesserts. Even if a product does not contain nuts, it may have been produced in a factory wherenuts are used and this can be enough to affect the allergy sufferer. Check labels carefully and ifin doubt, avoid ready-made products and instead make your own.
SeafoodIf you are serving seafood at your BBQ make sure you prepare and cook it separately in caseyou have any guests who are allergic to seafood.What to do in an emergencyIf you suspect that any of your guests has suffered an allergic reaction, telephone a doctorstraightaway for advice. If the symptoms are severe, phone for an ambulance.