When it comes to preparing food for a large crowd, it is important to consider people’s taste and health. This means creating menus that include tolerant and hypoallergenic foods. People of all ages can suffer from food aversions and intolerances; and the severity of their condition can vary on a large scale, from very minor and uncomfortable, to very serious or fatal.
For reasons of safety, responsibility and consideration, it is always important to prepare a widespread menu keeping everyone’s needs in mind. The first place to start is to learn the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. This knowledge will help you better understand your potential menu options. Read on to do just that!
A food allergy is perceived as a toxin in a person’s body. It triggers an exaggerated immune system response that affects multiple organ systems in an attempt to alert the body of the toxin. This can trigger additional physiological responses that exaggerate and cause serious or fatal symptoms.
Food allergies are serious because some can lead to serious injury or death. Even microscopic food particles can cause an allergic reaction, even fatal. The most common food allergies include peanuts, crustaceans, cow’s milk, soy products, wheat, chicken eggs and walnuts such as almonds, Brazilian nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. These are called the “big 8” in the culinary world and are the most familiar food aversions known by the general public.
Food allergy symptoms:
- Red skin
- Swelling (face, eyes, cheeks, hands, feet, etc.)
- He retched
- Anaphylaxis (breathing difficulties, dizziness and loss of consciousness, etc.)
- Respiratory symptoms
Unlike food allergies that affect the immune system, food intolerances affect the body’s digestive system. When a person consumes food to which he is intolerant, the digestive system has difficulty breaking it down. This can be caused by a number of reasons, mainly the lack of essential enzymes, sensitivity to food additives and reactions to chemicals found in food (eg mycotoxins). Food intolerances are not life-threatening, but can cause serious inconvenience and disease. In minor cases of food intolerance, people can consume small quantities without experiencing digestive problems. The most common intolerances include glucose, lactose, tyramine, food preservatives and food additives.
Food intolerance symptoms:
- Water retention
- Abdominal distension
- Difficult breathing
When preparing food for the crowd, both yourself and through catering services, be sure to keep both aversions and food intolerances in mind. There is a huge range of menu options that can do just that, so you won’t have to sacrifice variety and flavor!