Food Allergy Awareness Week occurs every May to help educate and increase awareness regarding food allergies and the related health conditions. Around 15 million Americans live with a food allergy, which equates to about 1 in 25 Americans. Over 170 foods have been reported to lead to allergic reactions. The most common allergens, or the top 8 food allergens include: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish, and crustacean shellfish. The top 8 allergens are the cause of the most serious allergic reactions in the United States.
A food allergy is a medical condition when the body’s immune system views a certain food as harmful and creates an allergic reaction in the body. This allergic reaction could affect the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, heart, gut, and brain. Symptoms range from a mild rash to a severe anaphylactic reaction. Food allergens can spread through cross-contact, when one food item comes into contact with another and their proteins and allergic qualities mix. Even the tiniest amount of protein from an allergen can lead to a severe allergic reaction.
Ways to avoid cross-contamination include washing cooking utensils and counter tops or creating certain “allergen free” zones in the kitchen where food can be prepped and cooked. Become aware of family, friends, and colleagues who have a food allergies to help accommodate their dietary needs and prevent any cross-contamination.
For more information on Food Allergy Awareness Week initiatives, visit FoodAllergyAwareness.org.
When dining in a CulinArt Group cafe, please consult with the chef or manager on any allergies or special dietary needs or to discuss ingredients and/or food preparation methods.