Allergy Tips

 

Click on any of the links below to be taken to the section with more information about that tip.

1. Discourage children from sharing food at school. Read more 2. Watch out for other names for sesame. Read more. 3. Watch out for allergen cross-contamination. Read more. 4. See examples of foods and products that contain or often contain sesame seeds. Read more.
5. Children and adults should wash their hands before and after handling food and before and after eating food. Read more. 6. Watch out for other names for peanuts. Read more. 7. Encourage children to respect other children’s allergies and not tease them. Read more. 8. See examples of foods and products that contain or often contain peanuts. Read more.
9. Read labels every time you shop. Manufacturers may occasionally change their recipes or use different ingredients for varieties of the same product. Read more. 10. Which tree nuts are included in Canada’s list of priority food allergens? Read more. 11. Students, if you see something that you know a classmate is allergic to, speak up. Read more. 12. See examples of foods and products that contain or often contain tree nuts. Read more.
13. Avoid imported foods with ingredient lists in a different language. Read more. 14. Clean and sanitize work and cooking surfaces, utensils and any equipment that touches food. Read more. 15. Avoid any products that do not carry a complete list of ingredients. Read more. 16. Students, put it away if someone tells you that they’re allergic. Read more.
17. Please check with your teacher first before you bring any gifts or treats to class. Read more. 18. Be aware that the epinephrine injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room. Read more. 19. See foods that contain or are likely to contain peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame. Read more. 20. Designate a place in your kitchen for your allergens. Read more.

 

Read more about the allergy tips

Allergy Tip #1: While generosity is a value we all want to promote, discourage children from sharing food at school as this could be very dangerous to some of their friends.

People with allergies have to be very careful about what they eat. It only takes a tiny trace of residue to cause some people to react. Sometimes the ingredient transfers to another food that does not normally have that ingredient in it. For example, a knife with peanut butter residue on it could be used for another spread or foods with nuts can get mixed in with other foods in bulk food bins.

Source: Toronto Public Health, “Peanut Allergies in Schools“, page 1 and 3.

Allergy Tip #2: Watch out for other names for sesame.

  • Benne, benne seed and benniseed
  • Gingelly and gingelly oil
  • Seeds
  • Sesamol and sesamolina
  • Sesamum indicum
  • Sim sim
  • Til
  • Tahini (sesame paste)

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Source: Government of Canada, “Sesame – a priority food allergen

Allergy Tip #3: Watch out for allergen cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is the accidental transfer of an ingredient (food allergen) to a product that does not normally have that ingredient in it. Through cross-contamination, a food that should not contain the allergen could become dangerous to eat for those who are allergic.

Cross-contamination can happen:

  • during food manufacturing through shared production and packaging equipment;
  • at retail through shared equipment, e.g., through bulk display of food products, e.g., bulk peanuts and nuts;
  • during food preparation at home, daycares, schools or in restaurants through equipment, utensils and hands.

Clean surfaces with soap and water, commercial cleaners, or commercial wipes. Allergens can stay on sponges and towels so the safest option is to use disposable methods, such as paper towel or wipes.

Sources:

Allergy Tip #4: Examples of foods and products that contain or often contain sesame seeds

  • Bread (e.g., hamburger buns, multi-grains), bread crumbs and sticks, cereals, crackers, melba toast and muesli
  • Dips and spreads, e.g., hummus, chutney
  • Combination foods, e.g., flavoured rice, noodles, shish kebabs, stews and stir fries
  • Sesame oil, sesame salt (gomasio)
  • Tahina
  • Tempeh
  • Vegetarian burgers
  • Snack bars (protein bars, granola bars)

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Source: Government of Canada, “Sesame – a priority food allergen

Allergy Tip #5: Children and adults should wash their hands before and after handling food and before and after eating food.

Teach your child to wash their hands before and after eating or before touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Older children are better at hand-washing, but new issues come up as they as mature. For example, they may not think about the risks of sharing lipstick or kissing.

Source: Toronto Public Health, “Peanut Allergies in Schools“, page 3.

Source: Food Allergy Canada, “Cross-Contamination

Allergy Tip #6: Watch out for other names for peanuts.

  • Arachide
  • Arachis oil
  • Beer nuts
  • Cacahouète/cacahouette/cacahuète
  • Goober nuts, goober peas
  • Ground nuts
  • Kernels
  • Mandelonas, Nu-Nuts™
  • Nut meats, Valencias

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Source: Government of Canada, “Peanuts – a priority food allergen“, page 2.

Allergy Tip #7: Encourage children to respect other children’s allergies and not tease them.

Why would you poke fun at a medical condition? You wouldn’t poke fun at cancer.

— – Jennifer Gerdts. executive director of Food Allergy Canada

Allergy bullying: It’s real, and it’s dangerous (CBC article)

Source: Toronto Public Health, “Peanut Allergies in Schools“, page 3.

Allergy Tip #8: Examples of foods and products that contain or often contain peanuts:

  • Asian foods,
  • Indonesian (e.g., satay),
  • Thai (for example, curries),
  • Vietnamese (e.g., crushed peanut as a topping, spring rolls),
  • Indian (curries) or
  • Chinese (e.g., Szechuan sauce, egg rolls)

Other possible sources of peanuts:

  • Almond & hazelnut paste, marzipan, nougat
  • Baked goods
  • Chili
  • Cereals
  • Desserts
  • Dried salad dressings and soup mixes
  • Icing, glazes
  • Snack foods, e.g., trail mixes
  • Vegetarian meat substitutes

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Source: Government of Canada, “Peanuts – a priority food allergen

Allergy Tip #9: Read labels every time you shop. Manufacturers may occasionally change their recipes or use different ingredients for varieties of the same product.

Remember to always read the labels on pre-packaged foods or ingredients you use in cooking.

Product size does not affect the likelihood of a reaction; however, the same brand of product may be safe to consume for one product size but not another. This is because product formulation may vary between different product sizes of the same product or be produced in a different facility. Always read the ingredient lists carefully.

Sources:

Allergy Tip #10: Which tree nuts are included in Canada’s list of priority food allergens?

The tree nuts included are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolias), pistachio nuts and walnuts. Peanuts are part of the legume family and are not considered a tree nut.

Source: Government of Canada, “Tree nuts – a priority food allergen

Allergy Tip #11: Students, if you see something that you know a classmate is allergic to, speak up. Tell the other student to put it away or tell an adult.

Allergy Tip #12: Examples of foods and products that contain or often contain tree nuts

  • Baked goods
  • Granola bars
  • Calisson (a marzipan-like candy made from almonds)
  • Dishes such as almond chicken, pad thai, satay, chili and trout amandine
  • Gianduja and giandula (chocolate blended with hazel nuts)
  • Marzipan (almond paste)
  • Tree nut oils (unrefined or partially refined tree nut oils, e.g., cold-pressed)
  • Pralines
  • Cocoa-based and/or nut-based spreads, e.g., almond paste-based spreads, chocolate nut spreads
  • Nougat (sugar paste made with nuts), e.g., Torrone
  • Dairy-free imitation cheese products made from tree nuts
  • Mortadella (a type of Italian sausage which may be flavoured with pistachio nuts)
  • Vegetarian dishes

Avoid food and products that do not have an ingredient list and read labels every time you shop.

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Allergy Tip #13: Avoid imported foods with ingredient lists in a different language.

For example, imported chocolate bars may not list peanuts, even when they are present. Food and food products purchased from other countries, through mail-order or the Internet, are not always produced using the same manufacturing and labelling standards as in Canada.

Sources:

Allergy Tip #14: Clean and sanitize work and cooking surfaces, utensils and any equipment that touches food.

Wash cookware (pots, pans), dishes and cutlery (spoons, knives, forks) well. Food that is stuck onto dishes or utensils that have gone through the dishwasher can still cause an allergic reaction.

Clean surfaces with soap and water, commercial cleaners or commercial wipes.

Allergens can stay on sponges and towels so the safest option is to use disposable methods, such as paper towel or wipes.

Source: Toronto Public Health, “Peanut Allergies in Schools“, page 3.

Source: Food Allergy Canada, “Cross-Contamination

Allergy Tip #15: Avoid any products that do not carry a complete list of ingredients.

For example, bulk foods and foods from on-site bakeries do not usually have ingredient lists.

Source: Toronto Public Health, “Peanut Allergies in Schools“, page 3.

Allergy Tip #16: Students, put it away if someone tells you that they’re allergic. Ask the main office for more food if you’re hungry.

Allergy Tip #17: Please check with your teacher first before you bring any gifts or treats to class.

Allergy Tip #18: Be aware that the epinephrine injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room.

Currently there is no cure for food allergies. The only option for managing the risk is to completely avoid the specific allergen. Appropriate emergency treatment for anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) includes an injection of epinephrine, which is available in an auto-injector device. Epinephrine is the only medication that can stop an allergic reaction from progressing and must be administered as soon as symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. Antihistamines, if used, should be given AFTER epinephrine has been administered. The injection must be followed by further treatment and observation in a hospital emergency room. If your allergist has diagnosed you with a food allergy and prescribed epinephrine, carry it with you all the time and know how to use it. Follow the advice of your allergist on how to use an auto-injector device.

Sources:

Allergy Tip #19: Foods that contain or are likely to contain peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame.

The table below was compiled from the lists from the three Government of Canada articles referenced in earlier tips.

Other names of peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame
Almonds, almond paste
Arachide
Arachis oil
Beer nuts
Benne, benne seed and benniseed
Brazil nuts
Cacahouète/cacahouette/cacahuète
Cashews
Gingelly and gingelly oil
Goober nuts, goober peas
Ground nuts
Hazelnuts, hazelnut paste
Kernels
Macadamia nuts
Mandelonas
Nu-Nuts™
Nut meats
Pecans
Pine nuts (pignolias)
Pistachio nuts
Seeds
Sesamol and sesamolina
Sesamum indicum
Sim sim
Tahini (sesame paste)
Til
Valencias
Walnuts
Note: These lists are not complete and may change.


Examples of foods and products that contain or often contain peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame
Asian foods
Baked goods
Bread (e.g., hamburger buns, multi-grains), bread crumbs and sticks, cereals, crackers, melba toast and muesli
Calisson (a marzipan-like candy made from almonds)
Cereals
Chili
Chinese (e.g., Szechuan sauce, egg rolls)
Cocoa-based and/or nut-based spreads, e.g., almond paste-based spreads, chocolate nut spreads
Combination foods, e.g., flavoured rice, noodles, shish kebabs, stews and stir fries
Dairy-free imitation cheese products made from tree nuts
Desserts
Dips and spreads, e.g., hummus, chutney
Dishes such as almond chicken, pad thai, satay, chili and trout amandine
Dried salad dressings and soup mixes
Gianduja and giandula (chocolate blended with hazel nuts)
Granola bars
Icing, glazes
Indian (curries)
Indonesian (e.g., satay)
Marzipan (almond paste)
Mortadella (a type of Italian sausage which may be flavoured with pistachio nuts)
Nougat (sugar paste made with nuts), e.g., Torrone
Pralines
Sesame oil, sesame salt (gomasio)
Snack bars (protein bars, granola bars)
Snack foods, e.g., trail mixes
Tahina
Tempeh
Thai (for example, curries)
Tree nut oils (unrefined or partially refined tree nut oils, e.g., cold-pressed)
Vegetarian burgers
Vegetarian dishes
Vegetarian meat substitutes
Vietnamese (e.g., crushed peanut as a topping, spring rolls)
Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Download this list for printing

Note: These lists are not complete and may change. 

Sources:

Allergy Tip #20: Designate a place in your kitchen for your allergens.

One of the easiest ways to limit cross contamination is to try to keep all of your allergens in the same place when possible. Store your child’s lunch bags and lunch containers in a location away from the allergens. In the event that you think there may be cross-contamination, wash using soap and warm water. Allergens can stay on sponges and towels so the safest option is to use disposable methods, such as paper towel or wipes.

Source: Food Allergy Canada, “Cross-Contamination

Sources

Source: Toronto Public Health, “Peanut Allergies in Schools“.

Source: Government of Canada, “Peanuts – a priority food allergen

Source: Government of Canada, “Sesame – a priority food allergen

Source: Government of Canada, “Tree nuts – a priority food allergen

Source: CBC, “Allergy bullying: It’s real and it’s dangerous

Source: Food Allergy Canada, “Cross-Contamination