3 allergy tips to consider before you tuck into your next takeaway

takeaway allergies

3 allergy tips to consider before you tuck into your next takeaway

The UK loves a good takeaway. That feeling of not having to cook and enjoying a tasty cuisine from halfway across the world. We could spend all day debating which one’s better. Do you like your Chinese food? Or are you more of a curry kind of person?

But around 1 in 10 fatal food reactions are caused by unknown peanut or nut ingredients, typically because of takeaways. And a worrying number of restaurants aren’t taking it seriously. They’re yet another hurdle for those with allergies to jump over. Just because you have this condition doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to enjoy a takeaway. So here are our key tips to staying safe and enjoying your meal.

You have to talk to the restaurant

Delivery apps are a great convenience when it comes to ordering takeaway. Everything you could possibly want is on there. But if you have food allergies, we recommend staying away. Listing allergen details is a responsibility of the restaurant, not the app. So there’s no guarantee it has the information you need.

To solve this problem, you have to talk to the restaurant directly. Either over the phone or by going to pick it up in person. This way, you can get the information from them. They have a duty to list potential allergens on their menus or otherwise highlight it somewhere in their restaurant.

Another tip is to look at their food hygiene rating. They should all have one and while it mainly is a sign of how clean their food preparation is, it can also signal how seriously they take their commitment to avoiding allergen contamination.

Clear communication is a must

Only you know what your allergy is and what will cause a reaction. So you need to be clear in how you communicate your needs. And remember, you may be dealing with people for whom English is their second language.

When talking to them about their order, ask about allergens. Gauge their response. Is it equally clear and well-informed? Or do they seem unsure? Ask about the food preparation process – how do they keep allergy-free orders separate? Do they package allergy-safe meals in a different bag to the other ones?

It might feel like an interrogation, but you can’t be too safe. A takeaway should be no different from a restaurant in how it treats food allergies and you have a right to know how compliant they are.

Be aware of common ingredients

If you’re allergic to one of what the Food Standards Agency calls the “14 major allergens”, you’re likely familiar with keeping your eyes peeled for them. They also happen to be incredibly common in takeaway food. And there’s a chance they’re being prepared in the same area as your food.

Nuts and peanuts are common in Chinese and Indian foods. Milk and dairy are used in a variety of cuisines, especially Italian. Seafood, like shrimp, are on practically every menu in the UK. All this to say that they’re everywhere. So even if something seems safe, double and triple-check that they are not an ingredient in the dish you want to order. And if their answers to the above questions weren’t satisfactory enough, don’t take the risk.

We’re sorry if this blog made you hungry for a takeaway, but it needed to be said. As much as we’d like for you to sit down and tuck in without any worries, that’s not how it goes. But hopefully these few tips give you something to think about next time you want to put in your order. Stay safe and enjoy whatever you eat!

If you need allergy support or think you have an undiagnosed condition, get in touch with our experts today. Simply call us on 02031 433 449 or register as a new patient here.

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