olive garden

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My husband called an Olive Garden that we're planning to go to on Monday and was told that there are no peanuts/peanut products in their restaurant. Yeah I thought. So I wrote an email to their website thanking them for being a safe place to take my pa son. However, this is the email they sent back to me.

Thank you for your interest in Olive Garden.

We are very sorry that we are unable to confirm the information you received regarding peanuts and peanut oil as an ingredient at Olive Garden. Nuts can be hidden in entrees and ingredients such as nut oils, bases of sauces and flavorings. Persons allergic to peanuts are just as likely to be allergic to soybeans, peas and other legumes.

We cannot safely recommend any of our menu items to those concerned with allergic reactions to nuts. Like you, we are concerned about your child's health and safety. Identifying allergens is a complex process for restaurants as there may be minuscule amounts of ingredients our vendors may not list. Our nutritional data base does not include information to the level of detail you require. Our menu is very complex and our vendor sources are extensive making it very difficult to recommend any items with the confidence that we all need.

We certainly empathize with the challenges presented to you when you weigh decisions regarding dining out. We wish we could be one of your choices.


Olive Garden Guest Relations

On Dec 21, 2001

I know that some people on this site won't go to OG because of what they told you (and have told others). But we have taken our PA DS there for the past 5 years. He has eaten about everything on the kids menu (and the salad, he LOVES their salad). Of course we started this practice 5 years ago when we would ask the waitperson and manager about peanuts. Since we have never had a reaction we continue to go there, even in light of this new information. I guess this is where my comfort level is different than some. I think that they make that statment just to cover their butts. Easier to lose a few customers than to fight a possible law suit.

[This message has been edited by Boone (edited December 21, 2001).]

On Dec 21, 2001

I have to agree. I wrote an email to them and received the same exact reply. I think if you stick with the basic stuff (noodles, sauce, salad) and of course double check with the staff that night or day, it is probably fine. We have not gone there with my son but that is just because we rarely eat out. Seeing as the reply you got was identical to the one I received, they are most likely just covering themselves! There is always a chance with complicated dishes, so stick with the basics!

On Dec 21, 2001

I am encouraged by your replies and I know that many of you do go there. I was so sad after reading their reply, but think you are right in saying that they are just covering themselves. After talking with the individual restaurant I was so excited, but then so upset after this email. I think we probably will still go and just get ds something basic like you said. He's only 20 months old anyway. Thank you so much. Nicole

On Dec 21, 2001

nicoleg, This thread brings up an important point. So many labels now say, "Manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts" So what the heck is that????? To me who cares? I want to know if it's done on the same line that does a product with peanuts or other nuts. They can never tell you when you call them. They all say the same ..we can't guarantee. Anyway, I miss the Olive Garden...left here in London about 2-3 years ago so you guys are lucky to still have it. Bottom line, I use a lot of common sense. When we eat out, he eats a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches (he likes them) so I feel pretty comfortable.

[This message has been edited by smack (edited December 21, 2001).]

On Apr 28, 2002

I cannot stand how food manufacturers, resteraunts etc. label that "May contain Peanuts" "Manufactured in a plant with nut products" etc. Sometimes I get so mad about it I contact the company and ask them point blank what this means since "May" is not telling me if it is or is not containing nuts! I want them to know that people are not stupid and that they are starting to want answers beyond these silly and cover your butt statements.

Sorry...had to vent that.

On Nov 29, 2002

We went to an Olive Garden on Wednesday. When the waiter checked with the kitchen, he was told that they cook all their dishes in peanut oil. They said the only thing they could prepare that would be safe is plain boiled pasta with butter and grated cheese.

On Nov 29, 2002

I was at the Olive Garden in Times Square NYC in July, and they told me the pasta as fine since they don't use peanut oil. I enjoyed a great meal there. What city was the Olive Garden that told you they only use peanut oil? Maybe each restaurant chooses their own oil?

On Dec 4, 2002

It was the Olive Garden in Wilmington, Delaware that cooked with peanut oil.

On Dec 4, 2002

At the Olive Garden in Willow Grove, PA, we were told that the salad, salad dressing and spaghetti were fine for my egg & PA sons. One of my sons, however, got ill & vomitted on the way home in the car. We kept a close eye on him & he didn't show any other symptoms & seemed better after awhile. Can't say for sure if it was allergy related or not but regardless, we won't be going back there! Just out of curiosity, would any of you have given the epi at that point in the car "just in case"?

On Oct 23, 2003

When I asked the wait staff they checked with the cook & told me that there is P oil in Mac & cheese & we should order the reg. pasta. We did but later that night & the whole next day my son had a strange rash on his nect & sholders???

On Oct 25, 2003

My family and I have eaten at the Olive Garden on numerous occasions. We just ate there last week. My PA son always orders the same thing wherever we go...Chicken Fingers & Fries. Never had a problem. We stay away from the desserts although always too full anyway.

On Oct 26, 2003

I have eaten at the Olive Garden in Toronto many times (although they closed down a few years ago) and recently I ate at the Olive Garden in New York City.

On Oct 26, 2003

We too have eaten at OG many times with PA ds. Just order pasta and salad or something off the kids menu. Do not "do" desserts. I know that recently (within the last two years) I read a story of someone with a shellfish allergy who ate at OG. His wife ordered a combo dinner with chicken and prawns (or shrimp) and he ordered just the chicken. When her meal came, they thought there were a lot of prawns on it. He ate his chicken, had a reaction and died before he could get his epi-pen (Didn't have it with him). Seems they had made two identical dinners, then took the shellfish off his and put it on his wife's plate. There were still juices on his plate, and that's what he reacted to.

Maybe this what they are afraid of with the PA questions??? What do you think? Kristi

On Oct 26, 2003

My goodness, that's scary! Makes you not ever want to eat out again. That poor man...

On Dec 27, 2003

My peanut- and almond-allergic son has done fine with several items from Olive Garden: the macaroni and cheese, the tossed salad, and the breadsticks. (According to the manager of our local restaurant, all of these should be safe.)

On Feb 29, 2004

We went to OG (first time since they left Toronto over 10 yrs ago) and they told us it was safe since they had no products with any nuts. No problems there...love the breadsticks!

On Mar 3, 2004


[This message has been edited by deegann (edited August 26, 2004).]

On Mar 27, 2004

I called Olive Garden (the 800 number) last month to ask about their nut policy. The customer service rep said that I must talk to the manager at the local restaurant I want to go to, since each of their restaurants order from local distributors, therefore making it impossible for the "chain" to know what is in each restaurant's ingredients.

I am now finding this to be true with Dunkin' Donuts. I've found on some (not all) drive through windows stickers saying that some of their bagels may contain nuts. I called the 800 number and again, the woman said that they changed distributors.

Interestingly enough, my allergist said the safest place to eat is McDonalds, since you know what you're getting. Unfortunately, one doesn't always want to eat out at McDonald's on a Saturday night!

On May 10, 2004

We take our PA dd to Olive Garden about every 2-3months. She has Grilled Chicken, steamed broclli and their salad. We have never had a problem.

When we asked the restaurant they gave us the line about not being able to "guarantee" that there are no peanuts/oil in everything because they can't account for their distributors.


On May 10, 2004

Hi Cindy,

I am PA and I have eaten at Olive Garden many times as well, most recently in the Times Square restaurant in NYC. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On May 13, 2004

My son has eaten at Olive Garden plenty of times w/ no problems. He usually gets the kids cheese pizza or plain pasta.

On Jun 21, 2004

No way. I still have not recovered from news of the death of a NJ man with shellfish allergy, perhaps about a year and a half ago, from severe reaction to a meal apparently mishandled at an Olive Garden restaurant. This chain has got some reparations to make, in my book.

On Jun 21, 2004

If I had a seafood allergy I would not eat in most restaurants as the frying pan or grill used to cook fish would possibly be used to cook other products (ie: chicken, etc).

Regarding the Olive Garden, I am comfortable there as I did not see any peanut products on their menu (it is possible the menu may have changed since that time), so I did not see a risk (I am only PA, not seafood allergic). They didn't use peanuts in their pasta when I was there (but they do use a lot of seafood in their pasta)

On Apr 24, 2005

My daughter had a reaction after eating at Olive Garden last night...she was itching and there was splotching behind her ears and on the back of her neck...(I didn't know it was there til she was saying her prayer before bed...She said "Please bless my family, friends, ect... And Please make me stop itching!" I gave her Benedryl and it went away quickly... It's very frustrating since I went with a friend who has a shellfish allergy...she said how careful they always are...I was told by the staff that there were no peanuts, and she ate a little bit of salad, 1 breadstick, and the fettacine. Maybe someone didn't wash there hands or who knows...I know we won't ever go back... thanks for letting me vent... julie

On Apr 24, 2005

We haven't eaten at Olive Garden since my daughter had a reaction (hives) while eating their pasta with tomato sauce. We had asked the wait staff about allergens, and were assured that would be a safe choice. At that time she was allergic to egg, milk, and peanut so I can't say what she reacted to.

On Apr 25, 2005

TJuliebeth, What food allergies does your daughter have?

On May 2, 2005

This is a little off topic, but I've got to respond to the story about the shellfish allergic man who died after eating at OG. Why in the world would his wife ever order shellfish in his presence? None of us would order a PBJ and eat it next to our PA children in a restaurant.

It's obviously not her fault that he died. I'm not saying that. But didn't it strike anyone as strange that she would order shellfish?

But the fact that they removed the prawns from his plate and put them on hers reminds me of a conscientious member of our church. At a youth dinner, where his son was serving us, I indicated that my PA DS' would need a salad without almonds. The father of the kid who was serving us then said, "And you need to bring him a new salad--not just one that has the almonds taken off. Those almonds could have traces of peanuts on them." The look on the kid's face told us that's exactly what he was planning on doing before his father told him otherwise.

I was so impressed by this guy's understanding of cross contamination issues.

On Oct 4, 2005

My daughter is allergic to tree/peanuts & eggs. She has never had a reaction after eating at Olive Garden (Okemos, MI.)She eats Pizza or Mac & Cheese. A server even once took the time to write down all of the ingredients and show us. The salad dressing does have eggs. They make her a plain salad. She eats the breadstix too.

On Oct 10, 2005

All of these posts illustrate that the Olive Garden Mgt. doesn't care about having PA people as customers. They'd rather send out a CYA statement to avoid trouble. Also, Olive Garden is the CRAPPIEST "italian" restaurant ever. You're better off patronizing a mom-and-pop place that has better food and staff that gives a **** about their clientele. Barring that get some dry pasta and a jar of Ragu. It's better than anything you'll get at OG.

[This message has been edited by Yankee (edited October 10, 2005).]

On Oct 12, 2005

WOW Yankee! You sound angry with Olive Garden. Actually most of the posts are positive, and if you read mine you will see that the staff goes above and beyond for their customers. We have had numerous great visits there. I have found that when the customer explains the situation and asks for recommendations, most businesses will be happy to accomodate. If there is one restaurant we avoid it is Applebee's.

On Oct 13, 2005

I spoke with the District Manager for the Chicago Region on a recent visit. He has a severe Peanut Allergy. He assured me that at least in his region, which includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, etc. there is no problem with someone with a Peanut Allergy eating at Olive Garden. The only issue is with a few of the deserts and I explained I don't eat them, but he said there were a couple that were really good that I should try because they were safe...

What I would recommend doing is contacting the Region Manager for your area. You can do this by calling the restaurant manager and asking for their information. I just happened to run into ours...

On Oct 13, 2005

I've eaten at the Olive Garden many times (most recently was in NYC Times Square) and was told there was nothing for to to worry about regarding eating their pasta (regarding my PA). And I found my meals were quite good too.

On Nov 4, 2005

Haven't been to Olive Garden in a while, but just wanted to comment on a post that said stick to the basic stuff like noodles...

We recently went to a local Italian restaurent figuring we were going to order plain noodles for our PA daughter and were told that they put peanut in the water they used to boil their noodles. NOTE: this was not an Olive Garden, but just wanted to let you know that even something simple can be ruined.