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Eating Out at Restaurants when you have Anaphylaxis Food Allergies

11 replies [Last post]
By Laura Duke on Thu, 03-02-06, 02:06

The law that went into effect this year to make manufactures list all known allergen sources in a product has been extremely helpful when shopping at the store. However, if you are away from home and have to eat out it can be extremely difficult. I am proposing that legislation be put into place to make all restaurants have an ingredient statement on every item on their menu for all known allergen sources. Such as the following contains: Milk protein, egg protein, peanut protein, soybean protein, wheat protein, shellfish protein, and corn protein, etc.
Example: Dairy Queen Blizzard- Contains MILK, and trace amounts of PEANUTS.
I have found that most of the world is not allergy friendly. However, with the number of food allergies on the rise, we need to make all of the ingredient information as assessable as possible to the public. Therefore, when you have no choice but to eat out, that you can make an informed decision on what you can and can not eat. I have contacted Senator Jim Cooper from the state of Tennessee about drafting this bill. If you are interested in this bill being passed, please contact your local Senator from your own state and ask them to contact Senator Jim Cooper with the state of Tennessee. Ask your local Senator to please sign on to this bill and to support it!

Take Care,
Laura Duke
[email]7051996@bellsouth.net[/email]

[This message has been edited by Laura Duke (edited March 01, 2006).]

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By williamsmummy on Thu, 03-02-06, 09:09

how would this bill work?
how would it be enforced?

I dont think labeling on its own would achieve a great deal in this area.

interested.

sarah

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By Arlene on Thu, 03-02-06, 09:33

I am in two minds about this..Yes while i find eating out a pain in the butt there are a couple of places we now feel comfortable going to. We have spoken to the manager and chef at both these places and they specially prepare sons food. Now...what i am thinking is that i bet a few people out there has places like these, i feel that if there was a law like stated above the restuarants would go down the same route as many of the shop brands. Saying that the product may contain just to cover their a**. If there was a law in place i think many of these places would not take the risk in preparing a special meal. KWIM? On the other hand yes it would be very helpful but i cant imagine there would be many dishes left for us to choose from. It could turn out like be careful what you wish for.

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By Jimmy's mom on Thu, 03-02-06, 13:07

I see this as being worse from a CYA standpoint. Some companies do CYA labeling. But, there's a big difference in preparation. Most companies have this, that and the other product on this line, and those products on the other line, with set procedures that are exp[ected to be followed. A restaurant has much more shared space, and quickly moves from making one food to another. I don't think most restaurants would feel safe (legally) stating what foods may have a trace of ____, without simply stating that everything may have a chance of cross-contamination with any food on the menu.

However, I do think that a law that requires restaurants to list major allergens that are part of the actual ingredients (not may contains) would be helpful. Then, customers with allergies can discuss the chance of contamination with restaurant staff, as many already do. But the list of allergens would be a very good starting point. For example, if you see that a fried food contains peanuts, without having to ask, you know that you probably want to stay clear of ANY fried food (unless you ask about separate fryers).
To have the allergens listed in black and white would also help educate restaurant staff. How many times have we all encountered a server who has no clue, and says something like "no we don't use any ____ in any of our foods," when they really do it's just that you don't actually SEE a peanut (or an egg, etc.) in the finished product. If they see it in black & white, at least most will know its there (there will always be the occasional idiot who still doesn't get it).

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By williamsmummy on Thu, 03-02-06, 13:27

how does this fit in with a chef that adds something to a dish on a whim, to improve flavour?
I cant see a chef aggreeing to follow such a bill , as it would be seen to curb their 'creative flair'

this is something that happens all the time in good quality resturants, should this bill only effect 'chain' resturants, as most of there food is prepepared junk food?

sarah

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By shoshana18 on Tue, 03-14-06, 13:58

you just can't legislate everything in life. in the end, it will not protect!

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By Laura Duke on Tue, 03-21-06, 13:13

This is the response that I got from one of my email's to the Senator's in the state of Tennessee regarding the restaurant issue:

Sen. Burchett has SB761/HB1279 that he introduced last year. As written
right now this would require any food service establishment to have a person
available to answer consumer inquiries about food ingredients and provide a
list of ingredients for each food item served. Right now the bill is in the
General Welfare Committee.
Please feel free to check with us if you want any additional information.

Alice F. Bigham
Assistant to Sen. Burchett

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By Laura Duke on Tue, 03-21-06, 13:21

The link to this bill is

[url="http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/currentga/Fiscal/SB0761.pdf"]http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/currentga/Fiscal/SB0761.pdf[/url]

Take Care,
Laura & Brentson Duke
[email]7051996@bellsouth.net[/email]

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By skyb08 on Sat, 07-08-06, 13:19

Hi,
My 9 yr. old brother has a severe peanut allergy and I can relate to your frustrations when eating out. Now that summer is here (I am in MA), one of the biggest challenges we face is the trips to the ice cream stands. What I have learned over the years, is that you must be persistent and always speak to managers or owners when dining out. Being a waitress myself I am very cautious when dealing with customers with food allergies but unfortunately not everyone is as careful as I am.
Quick example, my mother took my brother to the local ice cream stand and when she told the server about his allergy, she merely told her she would use a new scoop and gave him his black raspberry cone. She insisted on speaking to the manager and come to find out all their ice cream is made on site and they reuse the containers for all flavors and that the manager would strongly advise that my brother NOT eat any of their ice cream. He could eat the soft serve because it is made at a separate facility and the ingredients are listed clearly on the package. But he could not have any sprinkles because that bin was placed right next to the nut bin.
It is the same story at dairy queen. Watch the servers on a busy night. All the toppings are located in one are and nuts, sprinkles, m+m's etc, are EVERYWHERE. The risk of cross contamination is very high. They also use the same mixer for all blizzards. So your peanut free vanilla and banana blizzard was made right after my peanut butter cup blizzard.
I have one more quick story. My family and I made a trip to the city one day to see where my dad works. He took us to his favorite little diner for lunch. After we all ordered I told the waitress that my brother had a severe peanut allergy. My dad rolled his eyes and said "There isn't even anything with peanuts on the menu!" Well, good thing I did tell her because they fry everything in Peanut Oil! He couldn't eat anything in that restaurant, so I had to take him to the McDonald's down the street.
So the moral to my story is to never assume something is safe and always ask questions. My brother says I am a pain in the neck and I embarrass him but I can't even think about what would have happened if I hadn't been with them at the diner that day...

My brother Danny is only 9 years old and has to carry an adult strength epi-pen because of the severity of his peanut allergy. I constantly worry about him and his blase attitude. He thankfully, has never had a reaction but I think that is why he doesn't understand the severity of it. I don't want to terrify him but I want him to understand...If anyone has any advice or tips I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank You!!

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By ajgauthier on Sat, 07-08-06, 21:20

Quote:Originally posted by skyb08:
[b]
Hi,
My 9 yr. old brother has a severe peanut allergy and I can relate to your frustrations when eating out. Now that summer is here (I am in MA), one of the biggest challenges we face is the trips to the ice cream stands. What I have learned over the years, is that you must be persistent and always speak to managers or owners when dining out. Being a waitress myself I am very cautious when dealing with customers with food allergies but unfortunately not everyone is as careful as I am.
Quick example, my mother took my brother to the local ice cream stand and when she told the server about his allergy, she merely told her she would use a new scoop and gave him his black raspberry cone. She insisted on speaking to the manager and come to find out all their ice cream is made on site and they reuse the containers for all flavors and that the manager would strongly advise that my brother NOT eat any of their ice cream. He could eat the soft serve because it is made at a separate facility and the ingredients are listed clearly on the package. But he could not have any sprinkles because that bin was placed right next to the nut bin.
It is the same story at dairy queen. Watch the servers on a busy night. All the toppings are located in one are and nuts, sprinkles, m+m's etc, are EVERYWHERE. The risk of cross contamination is very high. They also use the same mixer for all blizzards. So your peanut free vanilla and banana blizzard was made right after my peanut butter cup blizzard.
I have one more quick story. My family and I made a trip to the city one day to see where my dad works. He took us to his favorite little diner for lunch. After we all ordered I told the waitress that my brother had a severe peanut allergy. My dad rolled his eyes and said "There isn't even anything with peanuts on the menu!" Well, good thing I did tell her because they fry everything in Peanut Oil! He couldn't eat anything in that restaurant, so I had to take him to the McDonald's down the street.
So the moral to my story is to never assume something is safe and always ask questions. My brother says I am a pain in the neck and I embarrass him but I can't even think about what would have happened if I hadn't been with them at the diner that day...

My brother Danny is only 9 years old and has to carry an adult strength epi-pen because of the severity of his peanut allergy. I constantly worry about him and his blase attitude. He thankfully, has never had a reaction but I think that is why he doesn't understand the severity of it. I don't want to terrify him but I want him to understand...If anyone has any advice or tips I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank You!![/b]

I think it's great that you being an advocate for your brother. It sounds like your parents are on the verge of "not getting it". There are many many hidden ingredients and areas of possible cross-contamination in restaurants and kitchens...it is *essential* in every restaurant/food place to mention the allergy to the server/manager/chef to prevent any unforseen accidents.

I hesitate to send you in this direction, but there is a thread somewhere on here, called 'In Memory of', or something like that...where we remember those who have died of PA "accidents". Whether it was poor judgement, mistakes, not having an epi, not using an epi right away, etc. the thread is a good educational tool to help people "get it" and learn from other's tragedies. It may be worth printing it out and showing your parents...not your brother since he's so young, but definitely your parents.

You'll find this board very useful. There are those on here who have babies and young children with PA, those who have acquired the allergy as adults, and those (like me) who are adults who have had the allergy their entire life and have gracefully survived it. So, to compliment the In Memory Of thread, there are lively adults here who have made it through.

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Best,
Adrienne

------------------
30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

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By joeybeth on Sat, 07-08-06, 22:03

sorry....maybe i'm in a "mood" but why is it almost always a dad that does the eye rolling??????

notice i'm not saying ALL dads roll their eyes when it comes to bringing up PA in front of others but what i am saying is that when it happens, it always seems to be a dad/husband.

drives me nuts. no pun intended.

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By Beth V on Mon, 07-10-06, 22:30

Joeybeth,
Your reply hit a nerve. We were at a restaurant this weekend with the kids. I ordered what I thought was a creamy tomato soup. I started eating it and after a few sips I noticed that there was shrimp in it. I called the waitress over to explain to her how important it was to mention this---People can get really sick (I didn't want to be so blunt as to say they can die because my son was sitting next to me). Out of the corner or my eye I notice my husband turning his head and I swore I saw him rolling his eyes. The nerve!! If I had given Alex a taste we would have been in big trouble. Thank goodness the waitress and the Manager were very attentive to other things. They tore off the ingredient label of the chocolate cake Alex wanted so I could read it and they made sure nothing was fried in the same frier as shellfish(one of the few restaurants in my area that has a separate frier.) Anyway, I never said anything to my husband. I forgot about it until I read your post. Next time we argue I'll make sure I bring it up.
Beth

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