Building an emergency food supply is a big project, but when you or your family have certain dietary restrictions it can make it a much more complicated project! Here are some steps you can use to prepare your emergency food supply around your special dietary needs.
1. Understand Your Dietary Needs
Do you have celiac disease? Do you have nut or wheat allergies? Are you diabetic or on a low potassium diet for kidney disease? Look at what foods and components you need to steer clear of before purchasing emergency food. Decide if you need to purchase specific and separate food for one person in your home or if you will purchase all the same food for your entire family. Consider the seriousness of the condition and determine how careful you need to be in your purchases. Obviously, an anaphylactic allergy to wheat would take considerable and serious research of any product you store in your emergency food storage for the safety of that person.
2. Understand Food Labels
The FDA requires1 food companies to label if the product contains the top 8 most common food allergies (making up 90% of food allergies.) Those include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. This is required if there is even a trace amount of these ingredients in the product. Most food companies will list if the food item has been processed in a facility that also process these common food allergies, but it is not required and cross-contamination can occur.
Look for certifications such as the “Certified Gluten Free” symbol that can only be put on items that have been processed without gluten and in a facility that has been thoroughly cleaned and free from any product containing gluten. Many times this also means the facility has been cleaned of any nut residual. Check the label for these listings or call the company direct if you still need help to clarify the label on certain products. For example, the Hershey’s candy bar company produces different sizes of milk chocolate candy bars on different machines. Some machines are nut free and others are not. Looking carefully at each food label will help you understand whether or not that product is safe. Augason Farms offers many Certified Gluten Free items for your emergency food supply.
Labels will also contain nutritional information such as carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and potassium amounts to help you determine which food items are best to meet your dietary needs.
3. Have Necessary Medication
As careful as you can be, there is always a chance for something to be eaten that can cause an allergic reaction, especially during an emergency. It is important to store extra medication (Epi-pen, Benadryl, etc.) in case of an allergic reaction during an emergency situation.
Storing essential medication in your emergency food supply to combat different diseases is also important. This FDA link provides good information about storing your insulin during an emergency.
Dietary restrictions and allergies do add a complication to building your emergency food supply, but there are viable options available to you with careful preparation.