Catering Tips: Common Food Allergies and Symptoms

Billy P
Formerly an Attorney, now the owner of Best Price Comparison Websites, Best USA Price Comparison Sites and compare2save, a consumer money saving blog. He regularly writes for the catering industry on food and beverage related content and for the construction and real estate industries. He is also involved in web development and SEO and professional article writing for websites and blogs.
Billy P
Billy P
Billy P
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Caterers, catering for food allergies

Peanuts Are A Common Allergy Source

Catering companies provide their services to many millions of customers every year. A proportion of these will have a food allergy. Fortunately, most of them will be aware of this and will avoid eating anything that is likely to cause an allergic reaction. However, it is not always clear that some foods contain allergens and it is the responsibility of the caterers to make it clear to the customer if this is the case.

There are many foods that bring about an allergic reaction – which is, in fact, a reaction to the protein in the particular food. In this article we list the most common of these and describe some of the potential consequences of inadvertently ingesting a food to which you are allergic.

Nuts and Seeds
One of the most common of allergies is to the peanut, which is, incidentally, a member of the bean family. Peanuts and peanut traces are contained in many foods and it is important for caterers to flag this up for their customers. Although many children suffer from a peanut allergy, some of them may grow out of it when they get older. Other types of nut and some types of seed also produce an allergic reaction in certain individuals.

It is very common for eggs to cause an allergic reaction. It is thought that the allergy is to the protein in the white of the egg rather than the yolk. Once again, many children who have this type of allergy find that they outgrow it as they mature.

Dairy Products
Milk, cream and cheese figure highly on the list of products that can cause an allergic reaction. Any foodstuffs that are diary based, including milk powder can promote unpleasant side-effects in a person who is sensitive to dairy protein.

Another of the more common products to cause an allergic reaction is seafood, including crab, prawn, lobster, cockles and mussels. An allergic reaction to seafood can be rapid and severe. Many people who have an allergy to seafood find that it remains with them for their entire lifetime.

Catering for alllergies. What caterers need to be aware of.

Seafood can cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis

A range of other foods, including soy, wheat, maize and certain vegetables can also cause allergic reactions.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
If a person is diagnosed, which is normally by either skin prick testing, a blood test or a food challenges test, they must do everything possible to avoid the food to which they are allergic. In the event that an allergen is inadvertently ingested, the symptoms that follow can include skin rash, such as hives, itching, swelling, which often affects the throat, limiting the ability to swallow and breathe, sickness, sneezing, runny nose and fainting. One type of reaction, anaphylaxis, is a systemic reaction that can result be fatal. If a person suffers from an anaphylactic reaction the common treatment is to rapidly administer adrenaline. Because of the possibility of accidental ingestion of an allergen, many people carry a dose of adrenaline with them in an epi-pen, which allows them to self-administer the medication quickly.

Because there are so many foods that can cause an allergic reaction and because the consequences of an allergic reaction can be so severe, it is vital that caterers clearly point out the ingredients of their foods where this is not immediately apparent. It is equally important that catering companies avoid the risk of cross-contamination of foodstuffs in the preparation and service of their food, as this can cause an unintended exposure to an allergic foodstuff. Finally, caterers should be aware of the nature of an allergic reaction and should train their staff to recognise the symptoms when they arise and to take the appropriate steps to obtain the necessary medical intervention, if necessary.


  1. Sometimes (of even often) it is hard to identify what exactly are you allergic to. Right now I have a rush because of the allergy and I have no idea where and why is it from.. I used to eat a normal food, nothing special and voila – allergy(
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  2. I agree, Evan. Often, a person does not know they have an allergy until they eat the wrong thing. Also, some people become allergic to foods that they have previously had no problem with. It’s a difficult issue.

  3. Fantastic informative article! An allergic food reaction can be frightening and even life-threatening. Some people have an allergic reaction to a food triggered by exercise. Eating certain foods may cause you to feel itchy and lightheaded soon after you start exercising.

  4. Thanks Senorita,
    You’re right. Allergies can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from very minor to very serious, including life-threatening.

  5. I was looking to read something in regards to what you have just posted..I have a mild case of allergy but im not sure of what!..I have done the skin prick test and am awaiting for the results..Blood tests turned out to be normal though..
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  6. Hi Billy,
    My girlfriend suffers from allergies. Foods are definitely an issue. I’ll bet just about everyone knows a person who has a food allergy. It’s so, so very common and some of those can be life threatening. Thanks for your post and best wishes!
    Rich Donahue recently posted…Omega J8004 Juicer Part I: Making The ChoiceMy Profile

  7. Thanks Rich.
    Hope the tests work out OK, Suraj.

  8. If you suffer from any particular food allergy, do you think there is any way to cure it?
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  9. Hi Praveen,
    I’m not medically qualified but I understand that there is no cure, as such, for an allergy. However, some people, especially children, seem to grow out of specific allergies over a period of time.

  10. Anyone should be very careful with the symptoms you mentioned in this article ,because we do not know yet in what age and conditions an allergy may occur. In the symptoms you listed, I ‘d like to add the “blurred vision”. This symptom appears usually after the difficulty of swallowing and before fainting. Thank you Billy for this informative post.

  11. Thanks Elena__Anne,
    You are quite right – the symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary greatly from person to person.
    Some people had the strangest reactions, whilst others tend to fall in with the majority.
    Thanks for the contribution.

  12. Hello there people,
    About food and allergic reaction – My best friend is allergic to eggs. What a nightmare.
    Some people digest eggs pretty hard and when the system can’t get rid of them the reactin starts. .. something like that. Every time my friend comes to my house I make jokes about eggs… but I stop after 5 min :)
    Best Regards from I. C. Daniel – Romania
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  13. Very Good Post! Allergic reactions can be very dangerous. Thank you Billy!

  14. If you’re catering for a private event, it would be easier to get the host to collect a list of allergies the guests have and from there you can prepare foods accordingly.
    Leslie Edwards recently posted…Learn How To DJ: Live TipsMy Profile

  15. Good topic Billy,

    I’m so thankful and blessed to not have allergies.

    I see so many people who suffer from weather or food allergies it just makes me feel fortunate to be spared from this.

    However, I have my own problems just follow me on twitter and you’ll see :)
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  16. Thanks for all the helpful contributions.

  17. Thanks for sharing this information as we all know taste is very big thing and we usually go to that place from where we can get best food to eat but beside that we should know side effects about that food which we are eating because it can be prove harmful for us.

    • As long as we know what to avoid, I think we should enjoy as varied a menu as we can – including a few treats!

  18. I know quite some people who have peanut allergies and they’re really scary. Eating out is really dangerous in this case and we must take all precautions to carefully enquire what’s included in the dish that’s presented before us.

    Thanks for the nice post Billy.
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  19. It,s good to know that someone should not be allergic towards eatables it become difficult to know about the number of things you are allergic with.
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  20. Jeff Smitth says:

    Allergies are not have just one reason. There are lot of reasons. I am not sure that except doctor or medician will know the logic of this. Mostly said it is cause of food or some thing else. I have opinion about this every allergy has different reason.

  21. I get food allergies. The most annoying is one to strawberries. Also chia seeds and I think a new bottle of cherry vodka (not sure because I’m still trying to work out if it was that, or the rather nice chocolates I ate with the vodka shot).

    Generally when I eat something that I have an allergy to, my mouth will start to swell. If I carry on eating, then I get an itchy red rash all over which appears 6-8 hours after I’ve eaten. Sometimes I don’t get the mouth swelling – which is a very useful ‘sign to stop’.

    My level of allergies is relatively mild, but VERY annoying. The rash lasts for days, even if I stop eating the ‘bad food’. I wouldn’t blame a caterer though and I think anyone with severe allergies should be carrying an epi pen (as my mum did) and wearing a bracelet.
    Fiona Maclean recently posted…Cooking the Perfect SteakMy Profile

    • Sorry to hear about your allergies Fiona.
      The trick is to control them by knowing what is likely to trigger a reaction. It sounds as if you take care to keep the allergies at the level of an annoyance rather than anything more serious.
      Thanks for your useful contribution.

  22. My sister has recently become very allergic to MSG (Monosodium glutamate). It started very innocent, feeling just a bit weird sometimes but the other day after eating at a Thai place she became violently ill. Now, she can’t eat anything containing msg. What’s more shocking is that just about all processed food, from chicken stock to gum (!) contains it. We even found toothpastes, cosmetics (skin cream) and even shampoo containing it.

    The only thing she can do now is shop at organic supermarkets.
    Seems like the world is really going crazy.

    • MSG can trigger some adverse reactions, Floris and maybe your sister would be best to steer clear of them from now on. She should check the contents of her foods carefully in the future.

  23. Interesting article, but i like peanuts. :)
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  24. My two kids both suffer from allergies. Cow fat milk is an issue, so as s egg. My older boy has been freed from milk, he is 3 years old now. But the younger (he is still 10 months) still need it. So we give him Neocat which is the most expensive and the rarest milk on the market. It’s a difficult situation, but we know he still need it.
    Billy, thanks for the nice post.
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    • My wife also had an allergic reaction to all dairy products when she was an infant. Fortunately, careful management at that time means that she overcame the problem but it did take some time. Hope your kids are able to deal with theirs equally successfully.

  25. hey billy,
    awe some article i like peanuts very much.
    eggs are also my favourite but sometimes i feel allergic with eggs when i daily eat it.
    thanks for sharing it awesome!!!
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  26. Hey Billy,
    Nice post and Thanks for sharing this post with us. Yes, some food cause an allergic reaction and this reaction can be harmful for us. Thanks billy for sharing this.
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  27. Thank you for this. I’m in my thirties and still very allergic to peanuts (and moderately allergic to a host of other foods), and it galls me when I see articles by food professionals who dismiss allergies as whiners or people who simply want attention. It’s good to see someone in the business who understands how serious they can be.

    Cross-contact is a big issue. The last time I had a reaction severe enough to require epinephrine and an ER visit, and the last several times I’ve had moderate reactions, were all the result of cross-contamination between a “safe” food that I’d ordered and another dish to which I was allergic.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to recommend Food Allergy Research & Education ( They have a lot of different resources for learning about and dealing with severe allergies, including resources for restaurants and food manufacturers.

  28. The catering business can either make one super rich or can even make someone run into huge losses. This information about the common food allergies and their symptoms can really benefit the caterers while preparing the food for their clients.


  29. Normally i do not check health and protein related articles, but i found this one so interesting, great work done. Nice work bro!
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