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Food allergy tips for the festival season

It’s here, it’s festival season. Come rain or shine, millions of you will be heading to sunny (or soggy) fields across the nation to celebrate all things music and culture.

Summer Festival

If you live with a food allergy or intolerance and are going to a festival, you might be feeling anxious and worried about not having anything suitable for you to eat.

Mobile kitchens must comply with the same food hygiene and food safety rules as restaurants do. They are also required by law to provide you with accurate information on the 14 allergens, if included in the food they serve.

However, such a small area for food preparation could result in cross contamination. So it’s sensible to very careful about the food you buy.

Summer Festival 2

But there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a festival with your friends with a little forward planning and careful thought. Here are our top tips:

Before the festival:

  • Getting a note from your GP explaining why you need your adrenaline auto-injector (AAI) might help avoid any confusion during bag checks on arrival. Just in case security are unaware of what the device is
  • Contact the event in advance or look up the food vendors that will be there on the festivals website. Find out if there will be any food stalls/vans providing safe free-from options.
  • Rather than camp, see if you can stay at a local hotel or B&B, this will give you a chance to eat before you leave and pop back for a snack and dinner
  • Look into the local area before you travel, there might be a local supermarket where you can stock up on prepacked food that’s safe for you to eat 

At the festival:

  • Make sure you’re aware of the location of all medical tents and point these out to everyone you’re with
  • Keep an AAI on you, and another one close by (with a nominated friend) at all times and take along some antihistamine
  • If you have more than one prescribed adrenaline auto-injector, take both with you. You can leave one with a friend or at camp
  • Inform everyone that you’re with of your allergy and where you keep
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or jewellery displaying allergies and treatment, or carry a card with this information on, just in case you’re in need and don’t have a friend close by. Our translation cards can be printed in English and used for this.

Eating:

  • #easytoASK - Don’t be afraid to ask about ingredients and how food is prepared
  • Remember all food outlets are required by law to provide information on the 14 major allergens – so this information is your right.
  • Don’t share cups, plates or cutlery - be cautious of cross contamination
  • Even if someone insists they’ve checked for allergens, don’t accept food that someone offers to you, or which you haven’t bought directly for yourself
  • Please contact our Helpline to order translation cards or for further advice 01322 619898. A set of three cards cost £15 per language.

If you’re a food vendor at a festival this summer:

Read up on the FSA’s allergen guidance for food businesses

These guidelines include lots of useful information and templates, including:

You can also take advantage of the FSA’s free allergy training for you and your staff.

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