Office Holiday Parties- 5 tips for keeping them food allergy friendly

Tis the season for eating, baking and indulging in your favorite holiday recipes and treats. Gingerbread, fruit cake, pies and cookies galore set the stage for the time of year laced with sugar and gluten. For those living with life threatening food allergies, intolerances or celiac disease this time of year calls for heightened food security and personal safety surrounding their health. Many traditional holiday foods may not be an option for these individuals, and determining what is safe to eat at the annual office holiday party can be difficult for them if clear communication is not present. Help your employees living with food allergies have a joyous holiday season by being mindful of what you serve and how you serve it at your upcoming holiday extravaganza.

1. Before you create the menu for your party make sure you know which of your employees have special dietary needs or requests. Rather than make assumptions about their needs communicate with each person, just like you would with your customers, about how you can fully accommodate them and ultimately keep them safe. (If employees have a plus 1 be sure to consider these additional guests as well)

2. Have separate tables, stations or serving areas for allergen free food offerings. Make sure these areas are clearly labeled for your guests. By keeping these foods separate from allergen containing foods you can avoid any accidental cross contact from occurring.

New Year party at office close-up

3. If you are having food catered consider choosing an establishment that has gone through an accredited food allergy safety course, and consult with the catering staff to be sure they understand best practices as you do. If your party is pot luck style, make sure everyone’s dietary restrictions are clearly communicated beforehand so others can be mindful of what they bring to the party.

4. Label everything. Make sure every dish served has a label with at least the name of the dish. If feasible, include what big 8 allergens are present in each dish as well.

5. Don’t throw best practices out the window just because events like holiday parties aren’t customer facing. Help maintain the standard of safety and investment that is given to your paying customers by modeling best practices to your employees as well.
Catering to those with food allergies or special dietary needs doesn’t have to be complicated or burdensome. We hope that the AllerTrain Suite of Courses allow you to breathe easy and feel confident when it comes to serving these customers. By adhering to your food allergy policies and procedures on and off the clock the standards you set will become second nature to all. With good communication and a little planning ahead everyone on your team can feel merry and bright heading into the new year!

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