Valentine’s Day is next week and the stores are filled with heart shaped goodies, especially chocolates. While chocolates are a wonderful gift for your special someone, it is important to be mindful when gifting for those with food allergies. Hidden allergens in chocolate can make a sweet surprise uncomfortable and in some cases deadly because of anaphylaxis. Chocolates can contain tree nuts, milk, soy, peanuts, and other possible allergens. It is important to follow these tips to make sure your special person has a safe Valentine’s Day.

Understand The Allergy

The most important way to avoid an allergic reaction is to know exactly what the person is allergic to. Understanding the kind of allergy or intolerance the person has is important as to avoid a reaction. It should be noted that even if someone has never experienced an anaphylactic reaction, it is still always a possibility.

Avoiding The Allergen

Always, always, always check the nutrition label. Even if you are reaching for a candy or snack that the person with the food allergy has eaten before, you should always double check the nutrition label. Make sure to look for the phrases “may contain” and “made in a facility with”, these statements are not regulated by the FDA but are helpful if on the label. The most common undeclared allergens found in chocolate are milk and peanut. For better help understanding nutrition labels you can  visit FARE.

Food Allergy Friendly Options

There are many candy guides you can find that list allergy friendly candies you can buy. The Kids With Food Allergies website has a large list of food allergy friendly candies you can find here. They also have a database of allergy-friendly recipes. You can also purchase candy molds and allergy friendly chocolate chips or bars to create your own fun and safe chocolates!

Food allergies should not stop you and your special someone from enjoying Valentine’s Day! Just make sure to be vigilant and read nutrition labels, and of course always carry your epi pen!

 

If you are struggling with your food allergies, a visit with a Board-Certified Allergist can help. An allergist can perform a food challenge and help find you the best treatment plan for your specific needs. To schedule an appointment with a Board-Certified Allergist at National Allergy & ENT, please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online.