We Need Your Help To Ensure Restaurant Safety

Posted on: Sun, 04/14/2002 - 11:36pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pWe all complain about how poorly restaurants treat customers with food allergies. One thing we could do to make resturants safer would be to write ASAP to Catherine Adams, Heinz North America, 1062 Progress Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5990 tel: 412-237-5508 fax: 412-237-3592 e-mail: [email]catherine.adams@husa.com[/email].br /
She chairs the committee at the Conference on Food Protection that is meeting in one week to consider our proposal for restaurant signage about allergens. The Center For Science in the Public Interest will be represented on that committee, so you shouldbr /
fax (202-265-4954) or e-mail (bcohen@cspinet.org) them the same letter. The CFP is the group that develops the Model Code that many states adopt and that sets standards for restaurants, caterers (e.g., airlines), etc. CSPI is asking that the Code require all restaurants to post a sign (such as IFIC/FAAN's) that would discuss allergens and warn against cross-contamination. Your letters do not have to be long, but should include personal experiences that demonstrate the need for improved restaurant safety./p

Posted on: Mon, 04/15/2002 - 12:19am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for the heads up - will do it now.
Amy

Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2002 - 2:34am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Here is my letter:
"April 16, 2002
Ms. Catherine Adams
Heinz North America
1062 Progress Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5990
Re.: Preventing Allergic Reactions to Foods Served in Restaurants
Dear Ms. Adams,
I am writing to urge the Conference on Food Protection to amend the Model Code to require food allergy awareness training and signage in restaurants.
My daughter Colleen, who is now six years of age, was first diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy when she was just over a year old. Since that time, I have worked on a number of projects involving food allergy issues, including the Petition for Rules Regarding the Labeling and Manufacture of Foods Containing Allergenic Substances that was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration by the Attorneys General of New York and eight other states on May 26, 2000 (Docket Number 00P-1322). Through my experiences as a parent and an advocate, I have learned that eating in a restaurant can be very risky for a person with a food allergy.
My recent encounters with our local McDonald's restaurant illustrate why this is so. McDonald's sells an item called a "McFlurry," which consists of soft ice cream mixed with bits of candy or cookies such as Butterfingers, Oreos or M&Ms. In our McDonald's, the serving trays and tray liners are stored right next to the McFlurry dispenser. On many occasions, I have found bits of candy and cookies on my tray that apparently dropped from the McFlurry dispenser. When I brought the situation to the attention of the store employees and managers, I found it difficult to explain to them why it posed a danger to customers, like my daughter, who have a peanut allergy. I was usually met with a blank or irritated look, followed by expressions of disbelief and denial that such a small amount of candy could possibly be hazardous. In the end, I was always promised that the area would be cleaned up, the trays moved, etc., but these promises were never kept. As a result, we can no longer take our daughter to this restaurant. I find McDonald's failure to address my complaints to be particularly reprehensible since this company markets so heavily to children and yet will not take even minimal steps to accommodate those, like Colleen, who have life-threatening food allergies.
Sadly, my experiences with the McDonald's staff are by no means unique. The vast majority of restaurant employees that I have dealt with simply do not understand the serious nature of food allergies. I cannot tell you how many times we have decided to walk out of a restaurant rather than risk having Colleen exposed to foods that are contaminated with peanuts. I have also found, however, that when an employee is willing to take the time to thoroughly discuss our concerns, we can usually come up with at least some menu items that are safe. That is why I believe that if restaurant staffers were better educated, consumers with food allergies would experience fewer instances of injury or death. We will never stop asking questions at restaurants. With proper education and training, however, restaurant employees will then have the means to provide us with the information that we need to make safe and appropriate menu selections for ourselves and our loved ones .
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to voice my concerns. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me."

Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2002 - 4:29am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

<p>Excellent letter, Colleen's Mom.</p>
<p>Amy</p>

Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2002 - 10:02am
AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis's picture
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Joined: 06/23/2001 - 09:00

<p>i sent a letter to both. Cohen sent me an email back to send a signed letter by FAX instead.</p>

Posted on: Sat, 04/20/2002 - 9:16am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

<p>I sent in a letter too. If anyone is interested in reading it, please email me and I will send it to you. It is about 3 pages - too long to put on the board, but I hope not too long to be read by the folks that I sent it to!</p>

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