Food allergies and avoiding certain allergens can be difficult when food is part of our everyday lives. From home to school to restaurants, allergic individuals — and those who care for them — must be vigilant when managing their allergies. Although, with some careful planning and preparedness, allergic individuals can stay safe while enjoying the same experiences as others.  

Although the primary responsibility for managing allergies lies with the individual at risk (and his/her parents) the support and understanding of others plays a key role in helping keep them safe. This is especially true when trying to select safe and nutritious food options for children with food allergies.

Here are some helpful tips for parents, teachers, daycare staff, and others in the community to help allergic children stay safe.

 Allergy Tips: Importance of reading food labels

  • Read the full ingredient list and label on all food and beverage products for potential allergens
  • Follow the triple check rule — read the label three times:
    1. Before buying the product
    2. Before putting it away
    3. Before serving to an allergic individual
  • Avoid products that have precautionary warnings for your specific allergens (e.g. "May contain egg.")
  • Don’t rely solely on allergen-free claims or symbols (e.g. "Peanut-Free") —  always read the full ingredient list as well as any precautionary  statements listed on the packaging
  • Do not purchase products that are not labelled or do not have an ingredient list
  • Avoid products from bulk bins due to the higher risk of potential cross-contamination
  • Be cautious of imported products, as food labelling standards in other countries may be different than those in Canada
  • If in doubt or you have a question about a product, contact the manufacturer directly to ask for more information about the ingredients or potential for cross-contamination

By following these simple steps, you can rest assured and maintain peace of mind that your children are not only eating well — but also eating safety.