Need To Know Allergy Preventative Tips For An Enjoyable Summer Barbecue

Posted on: 1 June 2015

Barbecuing has long been a fun American pastime between families and their friends. In fact, 80% of American households own a grill and approximately 97% of those households use their grill. Summer often sees the most grill use, particularly around the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. If you are planning a summer barbecue, there are a few things you need to know to make it as fun and safe as possible, especially if anyone has any allergies.

Check Food Labels

Checking food labels may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many foods people wouldn't think to check for allergens. For example, barbecue sauce often contains a surprising amount of allergens. Considering the fact that you are hosting a barbecue, barbecue sauce is likely to find its way into the mix.

Foods that are often a surprising source of tree nuts include:

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Pie crust
  • Veggie burgers
  • Chicken breading
  • Salad
  • Salad dressing

Tree nut allergies are among the most common allergies. In fact, between 25% and 40% of individuals who suffer from peanut allergies may also react to tree nuts.

Similarly, there are people who are allergic to fish. Although fish allergies are far less common, it is still an issue that can affect the fun and safety of a planned barbecue. Surprisingly, the following foods may contain fish products:

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Beef (Steaks and burgers)
  • Salad dressing
  • Worcestershire sauce

Finally, be aware of any guests that have an allergy to dairy, including milk. Milk is often found in many bread products, including hamburger and hotdog bugs. Scan the food label to make sure they do not contain milk, casein, or whey to avoid an allergic reaction.

Create Food Labels

Aside from checking labels, you may also need to create food labels. If you know one of your guests is allergic to a particular food, labels can help save a life. For example, write the names of each guest on a disposable cup so no one gets their drink confused. Additionally, label the ingredients in each of your dishes so guests with allergies know what they can eat and what they should avoid.

Research Different Recipes

There are plenty of recipes directed at people who have food allergens. You can prevent an allergic reaction from occurring at your barbecue by researching allergen-free food recipes. For example, there is a barbecue sauce that is free of the top eight food allergens. The recipe is as follows:


  • 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of celery seed
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove

Directions: Heat all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan over a low heat setting for ten minutes. Stir the mixture frequently to avoid burning. This recipe will create a thick sauce that can be brushed over various meats, including chicken, ribs, and even pork.

Check Non-Food Product Labels

Many guests like to relax outside for a barbecue. Believe it or not, allergies can occur outside of food consumption. If you have it arranged so your guests will be eating outdoors, you are likely going to break out products such as sunscreen and bug spray. Believe it or not, both products may contain allergens. Nut and soy products are often found in organic sunscreens, which can cause an allergic reaction when applied to the skin.

Having a fun, safe summer barbecue does not mean you have to exclude guests with allergies. In fact, you can have an incredible time with friends or family members who suffer from allergies, though it may require some careful planning and observation on your part to ensure the safety of your guests. Check with allergists near you for additional information.