Trick-or-treating tips for food allergies

Halloween CandyFor kids with food allergies, trick-or-treating can be, well, tricky.

To help make it easier and to keep it fun and safe, here a few trick-or-treating tips from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). The full list is available here.

  • Check all labels for allergenic content. If the treats don’t have a label, it’s best to avoid them.
  • Prior to Halloween, get safe treats to swap for those received while trick-or-treating. FARE also suggests sorting through candy with the child to teach him or her about checking food labels for allergenic content.
  • Have a “no eating while trick-or-treating rule”. This will allow time to review all labels for allergenic material.
  • Candy that was OK before may have changed some of its ingredients, so always check the label. Likewise, mini versions of treats may have different ingredients than the full size versions.
  • If possible and if prescribed, bring an epinephrine injector with you.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004 requires manufacturers to declare major allergens on food labels, which include peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, wheat, fish, soy and shellfish. Although any food can be allergenic, 90 percent of allergic reactions are caused by one of these eight foods. For those with food allergies, strict avoidance of that food is the only sure way to prevent allergic reactions.

When an allergic person ingests allergenic material, it triggers an immune response. Symptoms of food allergic reactions can range from mild to severe, including throat swelling, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock.

It is estimated that roughly 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from food allergies, according to FARE.

For additional tips, check out this list from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 

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