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Food allergens in restaurants??

ny biker2011-10-05 19:13:10 +0000 #1
I have a question for anyone with experience in or knowledge of restaurant kitchens: do chefs/cooks generally make an effort to keep common food allergens separate from other foods?

I'm allergic to shellfish, and there have been a few times in the past year when I've had a mild allergic reaction (a bit of hives and itching) after eating a restaurant meal that did not include any shellfish. Like, a burger and fries, or meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans. I suspect there might have been some cross-contamination, like the same grill surface or spatula used to cook both burgers and crab cakes.

I generally don't mention the allergy when I order because I make a point of not ordering anything that includes shellfish. It seems kind of silly to order beef and then tell them I'm allergic to something that I didn't order.

And if I do start telling them that I have an allergy, what would they do?

Thanks in advance for any information you can give.
ridenread2011-10-05 19:22:22 +0000 #2
I don't have restaurant experience,however,while on vacation we tended to eat out more than usual. I noticed that on every menu and in every restaurant there was a note or sign "please inform your server of any food allergies when ordering".

So maybe if you tell them they are careful not to cross contaminate
winddance2011-10-05 19:42:43 +0000 #3
If you're in a restaurant with anything you're allergic to on the menu, you should mention it to your server. For most of the population, cross-contamination isn't going to make a difference, but it can for those of us with food allergies. There's no reason why you should have to pay to be itchy.

I'm allergic to seafood and nuts (among a gazillion other things) and even though I always order conservatively, I do mention it and haven't yet had any grief (or reactions!) because of it.

One one particular occasion where I had to go to a restaurant that was basically my worst nightmare from an allergy perspective, but had to attend the dinner for business reasons, the chef even came out to talk to me about his proposed dish and said he, "welcomed the challenge."

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