Eating In Restaurants-Confused

Posted on: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 9:44pm
2boys2luv's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2006 - 09:00

Last night I spent a lot of time on the manufacturers threads, which has really made me very confused. So, much that I did not know. I read things about Wonder Bread and only eating different Lot #'s, I read about pastas and only eating certain brands, the other night I read about lunch meats and learned from a friend that some lunch meat brands may contain peanut oil. So, now how do you know in restaurants what is REALLY safe. You can ask the usual questions, but how about when serving your child a grilled cheese sandwich, or spaghetti and meatballs, or pasta with butter. I would assume the manager and/or chef isn't even going to think about checking their bread, cheese, or pasta for shared equipment lines. Right? So far, my DS always orders chicken fingers and french fries, which always worries me with the friers, but I've been very fortunate and never had a problem. We usually go to The Outback, which I believe everyone here feels is good. But we've also let me him eat the ice cream there, which we never him eat anywhere else, but I'm wondering if I should even be doing that after I read the thread on ice cream manufacturers. :0 We always eat Breyers at home, which most people here seem to stick to, but now I'm concerned with allowing him to have it at The Outback. He loves going there because it is the only place I do allow it. So, I'm asking the experts here, how do you feel in restaurants with the grilled cheese, spagetti & meatballs, pasta dishes, lunch meat in general, ice cream at The Outback. I'm so confused. :0

Posted on: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 10:43pm
hopechapel's picture
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Joined: 12/11/2005 - 09:00

I don't think restaurants are capable of serving meals that they know are free of "may contains". I think they can go as far as the label.
Mohnok Mountain House (expensive old hotel/resot) will tell you the "may contain" items). That meant he could have grilled cheese, french fries and Mcnuggets. Ugh. I told the witress/manager -- Lets not split hairs over the "may contain" items (though I do for preschool). I want to know what HAS nuts and nut oils in it. My son happily ate the salmon, ssweet potatoes and lots of broccoli. Risky? yes. But, I am also concerned with nutrition. Since they bake in house I trusted the baked goods they told me were safe. (No cookies or pastries) My son ordered the pie. Halfway through his eating they came over shouting that the crust "MAY CONTAIN NUTS!" My son shoved as much of it into his mouth as he could. I asked if it was an ingredient and they said no. Son was fine - at least observably so. SO -- my point is that even at the best set up --- it is problematic to get out the "May contain" items.

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 1:40am
lilpig99's picture
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Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

I just don't trust anyone to understand the severity of my kids food allergies, or the real consequences of them being exposed...so we don't eat out. Too many servers/managers just 'don't get it'. I hope you find the Outback info you're looking for....it's hard to digest all of these things!

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 2:39am
2boys2luv's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2006 - 09:00

Thanks everyone for your input. Would love to here more. I totally understand comfort level, and mine is deteriorating quickly. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I've been very fortunate that nothing has happened so far, as we have eaten in many restaurants. He usually always sticks to the chicken fingers and french fries. But I know now that I have to ask about what other things they fry in there. As has been said on here in the past, I have been "blissfully ignorant" for a while and didn't even know about the cross contamination in the friers! And I've been buying Wonder Bread for years and never ever knew about Lot #'s. So far so good. :0 [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Anyway, I'm looking for a response from Adrienne too. Adrienne if you are out there, you seem to do a lot of eating out and I love all of your posts about how you handle things. You are an inspiration. I want my son to experience things in life and not be afraid of everything, but I'm now becoming afraid to take him anywhere to eat. I'd appreciate more thoughts from everyone. Thank YOU!!

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 7:12am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

You are starting to understand why there are people here who don't eat out much.
After a period of blissful ignorance, our kids had reactions at different restaurants including a Thai restaurant, an Indian restaurant and two Italian restaurants. We also had close calls (misunderstandings with the waitstaff) at Italian, Mexican and American restaurants. Now, the only things the kids eat at a restaurant is McNuggets, fries and apple dippers from McDonald's.
We're just not comfortable with restaurants at all anymore.
Cathy
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Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 1/2 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 7:18am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by 2boys2luv:
[b] I want my son to experience things in life and not be afraid of everything, but I'm now becoming afraid to take him anywhere to eat.[/b]
Experience things, just not cuisine [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ! Bring food with you. We have a cooler that we keep in the back of our van. We have taken many road trips this way.
Find some safe fast food for trips and emergencies--it's actually a good bet because you can find ingredient lists online and they usually have a set method of preparing the food.
Sometimes when traveling we drive thru McDonald's and get food for the kids and bring it with us to another restaurant. We try to be low key about it, and no one has ever said anything to us.
Cathy

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 3:51pm
gw_mom3's picture
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Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

I posted a similar question a while back:
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum10/HTML/000604.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum10/HTML/000604.html[/url]
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==============
[b]~Gale~[/b]

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 11:23pm
PennMom's picture
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Joined: 08/01/2006 - 09:00

My DD was just diagnosed PA/TNA in August 2006- we haven't eaten out at a restaurant since then- except McDonalds very occasionally- and I would use Wendy's (as long as they weren't one that had fish/shared fryers). We started with the approach we would eat out at times- being very careful- but right now aren't comfortable with it. We had an experience at a catered event (wedding)that made us realize you really are in the hands of someone else when eating food you don't prepare.
We had a family wedding (very close relative), out of state, decided to bring all our DD's food with us and bring it to each event (restaurant/rehersal dinner, wedding reception, etc). The caterer's for the wedding were instructed before hand absolutely no nuts of any kind at meal (2 PA/TNA kids attending)- we asked the head person in charge at the wedding no nuts right? "Oh no- that's part of the contract no nuts in anything tonight"- what happens- the bread basket comes around with bananna NUT bread on the top! Needless to say we were glad we had DD's food! She even asked for bread, and I almost let her have a piece- not knowing my brother in law had removed the "nut bread" before I could see it- I gave them all a talk about "I really need to know next time-if I had gave DD a piece of other bread could have been cross contaminated" (same knife might have cut both!). I know catering is probably more risky than restaurants- but it shows even with planning ahead (asking for no nut menu) some people just don't cover all the basis like we do. DD ate out a ton before our diagnosis because we weren't diagnosed till 3 1/2 when she actually ate "nuts"- however I'm not sure if we were real lucky or she is now real sensitive- or both! I figure she is very young now and really doesn't have to eat out- hopefully they will find someway through all the research to lessen reactions and when she's older we can feel safer enjoying a restaurant.

Posted on: Mon, 11/13/2006 - 7:40am
ajgauthier's picture
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Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by 2boys2luv:
[b]Thanks everyone for your input. Would love to here more. I totally understand comfort level, and mine is deteriorating quickly. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I've been very fortunate that nothing has happened so far, as we have eaten in many restaurants. He usually always sticks to the chicken fingers and french fries. But I know now that I have to ask about what other things they fry in there. As has been said on here in the past, I have been "blissfully ignorant" for a while and didn't even know about the cross contamination in the friers! And I've been buying Wonder Bread for years and never ever knew about Lot #'s. So far so good. :0 [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Anyway, I'm looking for a response from Adrienne too. Adrienne if you are out there, you seem to do a lot of eating out and I love all of your posts about how you handle things. You are an inspiration. I want my son to experience things in life and not be afraid of everything, but I'm now becoming afraid to take him anywhere to eat. I'd appreciate more thoughts from everyone. Thank YOU!![/b]
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] aw, shucks...
I'll have time to post later tonight...
Adrienne
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30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Tue, 11/14/2006 - 2:01am
2boys2luv's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2006 - 09:00

Thanks everyone for your responses. I truly appreciate them. I can appreciate your idea of bringing food. What is so weird is that we did a lot of traveling in my "blissfully ignorant" stage, back and forth from NJ to FL before we moved here. Thankfully, the only thing my PA DS would eat was McDonalds!!!! Funny how things work out. Thankfully! I wrote to a few of the restaurants that we do go to, even though I check with the manager, etc. But as I've expressed with my new awareness of all of the cross contamination issues, I've become very nervous and decided to e-mail a few. Here is a response I got back from The Outback. I asked about their use of any peanut oil/flour/ treenuts, etc., which I knew they cooked in lard , but if they had any other items and especially the ingredients in their bread and ice cream or if they knew they were made on shared equipment. I've read the labels before, but wanted an answer from corporate. Thought I'd post this here for reference. Has anyone ever looked up Blue Bell Ice Cream? That is what they use.
Here is their response:
G'day,
Thank you for your e-mail!
The Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream does not contain "treenuts/peanuts".
The ingredient statement on our Honey Wheat Bread is:
INGREDIENT LABELING INFORMATION
ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, SUGAR, WHEAT BRAN, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING:, CARAMEL COLOR, YELLOW CORN MEAL, WHEAT GLUTEN, YEAST, SALT, SOYBEAN OIL, WHOLE WHEAT, BLEACHED FLOUR, RYE MEAL, BARLEY FLOUR, VEGETABLE SHORTENING (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OILS), HONEY, CALCIUM STEAROYL-2 LACTYLATE, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE , MOLASSES, HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, CALCIUM IODATE, CALCIUM PEROXIDE, CALCIUM SULFATE, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), SULFITE, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Peanuts or Tree Nuts
- We do not use peanuts as an ingredient, and we do not fry in peanut oil.
- Try our Bonzer Salad without the peanut sauce.
- Order any of our Chopped Salads or the Steak House salad without the pecans.
- Order our Cinnamon Apple Oblivion without pecans.
- Please resist our Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. The brownie is baked with pecans.
We prepare our meals fresh and to order so it is no problem to cook without seasonings, cook without butter, or to cook without seasonings upon request.
I hope this is helpful!
Michelle
[This message has been edited by 2boys2luv (edited November 14, 2006).]

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 2:16am
amyd's picture
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Joined: 09/12/2006 - 09:00

My feeling so far is that you can take every precaution when you go eat food that you don't know ingredient lists for... but you never will know 100%. I think you have to determine how much risk you are willing to take and ALWAYS be prepared to use the epipen if necessary... but that even goes in our own homes because you never know if something that a manufacturer says is safe is really safe, unless you grew it and packaged it yourself. But you can be REASONABLY confident. What that means is different for everyone.
I think this nebulous feeling is probably what prevents me from wanting to take our son out to eat more than necessary. I'd definitely feel more comfortable at a place like Outback, which is trying hard to be allergy aware, than a higher risk place like an ice cream parlor or Chinese restaurant or even some chain where the manager acts clueless. But it's always possible for a reaction to occur.
I don't want my son to grow up never tasting some really wonderful foods but I also want him to grow up. Finding that balance to feel comfortable is hard. I think sometimes a little bit of a gamble is worth it to make my son feel normal... within reasonable limits and taking every precaution possible. His psychological health is important too.

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