Suggestions for approaching restaurant management


We had take-out chicken last night from a pace we've eaten at before. They always asure us no peanuts, peanut oil, peanut products, but my son had an allergic reaction to the food. I want to get the restaurant to post a peanut allergy warning so others won't go throught this - any successful strategies you can suggest?

On Dec 9, 2000

Hi Sheree,

Welcome to the boards.

I was curious as to what kind of reaction your child had to the take out and also what was said to the management before you ordered the food. Is this a "regular" place where you eat? Unfortunately, ingredients can change at any time or a different oil can be used on different days, etc.

Can you give us some background on what happened and then maybe we can help you to move forward on this.

------------------ Stay Safe.

[This message has been edited by Connie (edited December 09, 2000).]

On Dec 10, 2000

Thanks for getting back to me, Connie. My son (he's 4 1/2) turned pale and started shivering while he was eating the food, then broke out in hives on his face. The pale/cold thing I hadn't seen before, but the hives were in the same config he had when he last had peanut butter. We had him diagnosed with peanut allergy and have dilligently avoided peanut products (everyone I know thinks I'm nuts when I insist on reading labels and etc.) It was General Tso's chicken, he loves it so we occasionally get it, always at the same local place, never had a problem before. We always remind them of his peanut allergy and grill them on the use of peanut oil, peanut products, etc. each visit. After his reaction I called them and they swore there was no way his meal came in contact with peanuts. Yet his reaction was instataneous. Perhaps he's allergic to something else (I was reading about sesame on the boards there, but he's never reacted to that before). I am trying to get a referral back to the allergist who diagnosed him to see if he's possibly allergic to anything else. When he was a baby he was allergic to milk (he was breast-fed so I couldn't have any dairy products) but outgrew that by about age two. This incident helped convince my husband to take Chinese food off our list. My son didn't have problems breathing and using Benadryl all night resolved the hives, didn't have to give the EpiPen, so we were really lucky this time. I'm going back and forth between thinking maybe I'm being too overprotective and maybe I'm being negligent by ever letting him eat anything I didn't prepare myself.

On Dec 10, 2000

Okay, I have 2 possible ideas for you. 1) he could have been reacting to peanuts that the restaurant did not know about. For example if their soy sauce or other sauces are manufactured on shared equipment with peanut sauces. 2) My son never had problems with sesame seeds until right around his 4th birthday - he had 2 bites of sesame seed pretzel and went into an anaphylactic reaction. I read somewhere on these boards that PA children are more likely to develop nut and seed allergies and these usually show up around age 3 or 4.

I think it is unrealistic to try to get the restaurant to post a peanut warning before finding the source of your son's reaction for sure. You should however make them aware of your son's reaction so that the next person who asks about safety for PA can be alerted that there might be a problem.


On Dec 11, 2000

Another scenario and the reason I've been told to avoid Chinese food for Philip is the utensils, pots and pans they use. Many dishes are made with peanuts or related products and are not thoroughly sterilized (cleaned) between dishes. There could have been residual peanut protein on a wok or stirrer that contaminated your sons food.

It's impossible to ask restaurants to post signs as there are just so many different allergens out there. If they do it for peanut they might feel they need to do it for all potentialities. Chinese restaurants are one of the most dangerous places for PA people so we just avoid them all together.

On Dec 11, 2000

i agree with philip's mom, especially about cross contamination w/chinese food restaurants. we no longer go or get take out food from chinese restaurants due to this very problem. its VERy common practice in nyc at least to use peanut oil, peanut butter (in the sesame noodles) and other nuts in so many asian foods, espeically the kind you get from chinese restaurants.

On Dec 11, 2000

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. We won't get Chinese take out any more - now I have to learn to make General Tso's!

On Dec 11, 2000

sheree, i was looking on the internet and there are a gazillion recipes out there. we have a wok at home that we never use and i absolutely adore general tso's chicken. i actually stopped eating chinese food even when i am not at home as i am still nursing my second child and figure what the heck, better safe than sorry even though there is no hard proof, just anectodal evidence, that nursing or even eating nuts during pregnancy really makes a difference. one thing though, when i used the wok many many years ago, the one thing you have to remember, and i am not a great cook, is that the oil has to be super duper hot, that is a reason so many use peanut oil, it can reach very high temps without burning. there are other oils you can use as well, just need to research a bit further. good luck.

On Dec 11, 2000

Do you guys know the addresses of these websites with chinese recipes? I haven't had chinese food in years and I miss it sooooo much!

On Dec 11, 2000

just go into any search engine, like metacrawler ( or yahoo and search under General Tso's Chicken, you will come up with lots of sites not just for this dish but for lots and LOTS of chinese food. now i just need the time (and energy)to actually make the stuff LOL!

On Dec 11, 2000

Chinese food tends to be prep-time intensive. One shortcut I found when making egg rolls or wraps is to buy prepackaged cole slaw veggies. Eliminates all that prep work with the veggies and I don't have a bunch of leftover pieces of veggies to figure out something to do with. Just be sure to rinse the slaw mix very thoroughly. Mixed with hoisin sauce and/or soy sauce and some turkey or chicken - comes out great!

On Dec 22, 2000

Sheree, I'm becoming very interested in this chicken/peanut relationship. My 10yo son is peanut allergic and we have experienced many of our reactions when it has to do with chicken. Chicken pot pie, chicken TV dinners, he eats chicken nuggets and fried chicken from many different restaurants - but from time to time his throat tightens & he gets hives around his mouth or on his stomach when he eats a prepared chicken product. I am getting paranoid about chicken now.