I am lucky enough to not have children with food allergies. We have other issues, don't get me wrong, but food allergies are not one of them. And, embarrassingly, I have made several food allergy mistakes.
When hosting a new playgroup at our house, I put out our basket of snacks that I regularly let my kids choose from. Included in it were granola bars, packages of cheese/peanut butter crackers, Teddy Grahams, and Goldfish (AKA baby crack). The kids were happily playing, and each meandered over to the snack table, made a choice, and continued to play. As Little N (Age 3) went over, he chose a lovely granola bar, and his mom did the faster-that-the-speed-of-light-child-running-in-the-street style lurch at him and yelled "NO!!!". Backpedaling over the crying, and startled children everywhere, she explained about his nut allergy, and pulled out his snack from home. Over compensating, I apologized profusely and took all the snacks away (half of which were lethal to him), bringing out only strawberries-much messier and more expensive for a playgroup of 6- but not deadly (on this occasion).
At the annual cookie exchange, I made sugar cookies. No nuts. Straight up plain sprinkled sugar cookies. As ladies were tasting, chewing, and commenting on how they taste differently from sugar cookies in the past, I reveal my secret ingredient. Almond extract instead of vanilla. Ms. L immediately puts her pate of cookies down and asks if it was imitation or not. I have no idea. Probably? That was not good enough for a woman with a severe tree nut allergy.
Thankfully, my oversights have only happened twice, but I have since seen them happen many other times, for example once at a preschool's pot luck, and another time in overlooking how 'vegetarian' something was. As I read what others say about food allergies, and as my children become more and more involved with other children, I realize what a serious issue this is. I hope that I can be understanding and accommodating to those families that we come into contact with.