Eating out with allergies – are you safe?

Eating out with allergies

Eating out with allergies – are you safe?

Everyone loves going to a restaurant to celebrate a birthday, a promotion, or a Wednesday. There are countless options covering cuisines from around the world. It’s a veritable treat for the senses.

For those without allergies, it’s difficult to imagine what it must be like to always read ingredient lists or request dietary menus. It’s hard work, and unfortunately, even if you take these preventive measures, it won’t always help.

What’s the danger?

This is a topic you may well have read about in the national news. A teenage girl died after eating an ‘artisan’ baguette from Pret A Manger. Even though she took careful consideration to check the label, it didn’t say that it contained sesame seeds.

Pret’s lack of labelling caused the individual to go into cardiac arrest on a flight to Nice and sadly pass away. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Pret products have led to allergic reactions. Several cases have been reported as far back as 2012. Allergic reactions often lead to hospitalisation. And it’s not just Pret. Another individual passed away after eating at Wagamama as once again, sesame was not listed on the menu. It can sound scary for a parent, but just because you have an allergy doesn’t mean you can’t dine out.

What can you do?

You probably don’t want to cook at home all the time – and you shouldn’t have to. So, what can you do to ease your anxiety of eating out?

A must is to check the labels and ingredient lists or menus. It’s worth requesting additional nutritional information if it’s not listed on packaging or menus. Some places, like Pret for example, include more nutritional information on their website instead of in store. Here are some other precautions you should take:

  • Read reviews of different restaurants. See if you can find any reviews specific to customers with allergies. For larger chain restaurants, including Pret A Manger, Buyagift has an easy-to-use reference guide.
  • Some cuisines are likely to contain certain allergens than others. For example, staple ingredients of Italian food include wheat and gluten. East Asian cuisine uses a lot of nuts
  • Be prepared for the worst. Pack EpiPens or other equipment you might need.
  • Just ask. Don’t be afraid to talk to the manager about your allergies and ask if any specific ingredients are used. If it makes you feel better, call ahead before your visit.

The future

There are already stringent guidelines in place for restaurants and cafes to follow, so most locations should be above board. The parents of the teenage girl are pushing for stricter guidelines, so eating out for someone with allergies should become even easier.

The odds are high that you know someone with an allergy; maybe someone in your family. You may have one without even realising. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so why not get yourself tested for food allergies. You might thank yourself later.

Find out if you or your child has allergies through our allergy testing services for peace of mind when eating out. Request a home test kit or book an appointment with one of our consultants today to find out more.

*All statistics referenced in this article are taken from here.

Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved