Restaurant Awareness of Food Allergies Improves
For parents of children with food allergies, dining out used to mean very limited options. Today eating out is much easier and safer for the millions who suffer with a food allergy. One reason is that restaurants are more aware and more prepared.
The awareness of food allergies has definitely increased within the food service industry and many restaurants now take steps to train their staff about the need for accommodating those with a food allergy. An important step in this direction is a training program for restaurants introduced by FARE and The National Restaurant Association several years ago.
Developed as both an educational and informational tool, the program not only helps make restaurants more aware of food allergies, but also teaches what to do in the event that an allergy-related incident occurs.
Greater awareness on the part of the restaurant doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. Obviously, the best way to avoid a food allergy reaction while eating out is simply to avoid the offending food. But, with children who are allergic to certain foods, it’s not always so easy. Very often you cannot see everything that you’re getting on your plate. Hidden food allergens could be lurking in breading, salad dressing, a baked good, or sauces.
It’s also important to be aware that Asian cuisines often use peanuts and tree nuts in their recipes, Mexican dishes may have peanuts and Southern foods often contain egg, milk, wheat and other potential allergens.
You should also know the other names for your offending hidden foods. Sometimes products used by chefs — such as mixes for sauces or dressings — list ingredients by alternate names. So if you’re going to request that something is left out of a dish, it’s vital to know all the terms for food allergens including derivatives under which your allergen may be listed.
Although it may not always be possible, looking over a restaurant’s menu before you arrive can prove helpful. Restaurant websites are also becoming useful tools in preparing for dining out as many restaurants are sharing their menus and allergen information online.
Visit this helpful online resource which lists allergy friendly restaurants and other helpful links to make dining out easier and much more fun.