If you have a food allergy, you understand how stressful eating in a restaurant can be. Uninformed servers, a mix-up with your order, or cross-contamination in the kitchen can turn an evening out into a trip to the emergency room.
The good news is that restaurants are increasingly taking steps to accommodate the growing number of people with food allergies. Andrea Levario, executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, told "There have never been more tools available to the consumer with food allergies to access health information and to act on what they find." This has made dining out with food allergies easier than ever.
Regardless of the type of food allergy you have, Levario offers the following tips for a safe dining experience:
First, start off your restaurant experience on the right foot. Research your options online; some restaurants are better than others at accommodating diners with food allergies and other dietary restrictions. Today, many chains put menu information online so that customers can make an informed decision before even setting foot in the restaurant.
Second, take advantage of information available inside the restaurant. Many establishments have food allergen pamphlets or nutritional information brochures that they can provide, if requested.
Don't forget to alert your server. A good server will ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe meal. Ask your server to communicate your food allergy needs to the kitchen staff. If you feel the need to, don't hesitate to ask to speak with the manager about your food allergy concerns.