Tips For Hosting An Allergy-Safe Party

Food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise, which can make entertaining difficult when food is involved. With a bit of foresight, you can still host a great party while ensuring everyone stays healthy and safe.

Tip #1: Skip the Potluck

Potlucks can pose a dangerous gamble if you are concerned about food allergies. It's difficult to know the contents of every dish, or whether the food items were prepared in an allergen-free kitchen. For some allergy sufferers, even a trace amount of an allergen can trigger a harmful reaction. For this reason alone, it's best to avoid potluck or home prepared foods at your event.

What if someone brings something anyway? Consider it a host gift. Etiquette does not demand that these gifts are set out for everyone at the party to enjoy. Instead, thank the guest sincerely and mention how much your family will enjoy it later.

Tip #2: Interview Your Caterer

Hiring out the food service to a caterer is usually a safer option, as long as the caterer is familiar with dealing with food sensitivities and allergies. Asking a few key questions during the selection process will help you find the best caterer. Examples include:

  • Does the company have an allergy policy in place and what is it?

  • Are foods labeled with all ingredients and are common allergens highlighted in each dish?

  • Will steps be taken to avoid cross contamination during preparation and serving?

  • Is there an allergen-free menu available?

  • Will the company take special requests for guests with specific dietary needs?

  • Is the staff fully trained in allergy awareness and avoidance techniques?

Tip #3: Know the Common Allergens

Although almost any food can pose an allergy risk, there is a list of foods that are the most common triggers. These include:

  • Dairy

  • Peanuts and tree nuts

  • Eggs

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Wheat

  • Soy

  • Citrus

Offering a few dishes completely free of these common allergens ensures your guests have something to enjoy. The best option is to include a line for special dietary needs on your event's RSVP cards. This way you will have an accurate view of what allergens to avoid, which you can provide to your caterer. It will still be best to have at least once allergen-free option even if no one indicates a need, just in case.

Tip #4: Go For Full Service

After preparation, serving is the most common cause of allergen contamination. It's best to skip the self-service buffet and instead hire a serving staff through the catering company. The staff should be fully aware of allergy-safe practices so they don't accidentally contaminate an otherwise allergen-free dish. You don't want a serving spoon from a cream sauce to end up in the dairy-free sauce dish!

Finally, don't be offended if an allergic guest brings their own food or fails to enjoy your catered service. Those that suffer from severe allergies often take few chances when it comes to their health. Be honored that they decided to attend your event, instead.

To learn more, contact a company like A Certain Flair Catering with any questions you have.