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Allergies : Avoid Hidden Allergens in Holiday Foods

So many holiday traditions are centered around food, making this a risky time of year for people with food allergies. The most common food allergens -- eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, dairy, wheat, fish, and shellfish -- can be obvious and easy to avoid, but they can also be hidden in foods that seem safe.

Keep the following tips in mind when navigating parties and get-togethers this season:
  • Many turkeys are injected with a soybean mixture that may also contain peanut oil.
  • Stuffing is often made with nuts, wheat, and eggs.
  • Salad dressings can contain peanut, walnut, or hazelnut oil.
  • Packaged gravy mixes may contain dairy, soy, eggs, and gluten.
  • Most desserts contain dairy and/or eggs. In addition to wheat, some pie crusts may also contain ground almonds or pecans.
Be sure to ask about the ingredients used in each dish, and be aware that cross-contamination can occur during food prep. If you're not comfortable eating foods provided by others, then err on the side of caution by bringing your own dish to share or offering to host.

During this busy time of year, take time to plan for food allergy emergencies. Inform family and friends of any allergies ahead of time, and always have at least two doses of epinephrine on hand, especially if you're heading out of town for the holidays.
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