Tips for dining in or out safely when you have food allergies

Careful food handling and preparation is crucial if you or anyone in your family has food allergies.

Preparing food safely at home

Follow these tips to safely handle and prepare food in your home:

  • Read food labels. You'll find the most common allergens printed below the list of ingredients on packaged foods that contain them. If you see vague terms such as "flavors" or "spices" on food labels, contact the manufacturer and ask what they are.
  • Clean thoroughly. Wash cookware, glassware, dishes and utensils before and between preparing meals. For example, wash a knife you've used to spread peanut butter before dipping it into a jelly jar. Wash your hands before and after preparing and eating food. Wipe down kitchen counters with standard household cleansers before and after preparing meals.
  • Separate foods. Maintain a separate refrigerator and pantry shelf for allergen-free foods. If you're preparing different meals, prepare allergen-free meals first.
  • Maintain allergen-free areas. Limit food consumption to certain rooms. Store food allergens in places out of children's reach.
March 04, 2014 See more In-depth