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6/6/2013 - Allergy-free foods to consider serving for graduation

Restaurant owners need to ensure their staff keeps allergies of patrons in mind at all times, not just during graduation season.

Whether it's from high school or college, millions of seniors are wrapping up their studies as they prepare for commencement ceremonies and graduation season. And to pay tribute to young minds for all the hard work they've done in the classroom, many parents may want to throw a party for their son or daughter as they prepare to enter the working world.

Graduation season is one of the busiest times of year for entrepreneurs who are in the catering profession, as families gather together to celebrate with good food and friends. But the fun times that these parties are known for can be short-lived if someone eats something they're allergic to.

According to health experts, eight foods account for 90% of all allergic reactions - milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.

Of course, the person that's hosting a graduation party should be able to inform the caterer of any potential issues that could result from food allergies, depending on what's being served. But to err on the side of caution, caterers may want to think about substituting potential allergens with foods that are much safer to eat. For example, according to nutritionist Jane Schwartz Harrison, many dishes that call for peanuts can be substituted by using lentils or certain types of beans. And for those who are allergic to wheat, the high protein grain is void of wheat but has the consistency and nutrient base that makes it an ideal alternative.

It may also be in the best interest of restaurateurs to take this opportunity to review their businessowners insurance so they have a better understanding of their liability in the event a lawsuit is brought by someone whose health was adversely impacted after an allergic reaction.

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