What are common food allergens? And how can I share food safely during the holiday season?
If you love to share baked goods or a special family recipe during the holidays, keep in mind that your friends, co-workers or family members may have food allergies, says Shannon Coleman, a food safety specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified the “Big 9” food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans and sesame. These allergens must be identified on commercial food packaging, according to federal law.
If you’re sharing homemade foods with any of the Big 9 food allergens - especially at work, school or church, where you might not know if a person has a food allergy – then label them, even with a simple hand-written note, Coleman says.
“Make sure the holiday treats you’re passing out, that you are clear with people in identifying the allergens that are present,” Coleman says.
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