And it has to stop now! How are we still hearing about deaths from allergies when all the right questions have been asked, yet still people are served foods that contain the very allergen they’ve specifically informed staff they’re allergic to?
If you work in a restaurant and you get asked about the presence of allergens, please only answer if you 100% know the answer. Don’t guess, because the results can and are disastrous.
Thank you BBC for raising this
An article just published on the BBC website this morning hits the mark. What can restaurants do help customers with allergies?
Thank you Mary O’Connor for being so kind and understanding when interviewing me.
Because we need to start talking about solutions, not continuing to hear about another death, and another death, and another death, with seemingly nothing changing in between and no lessons learnt.
The article talks about a new app called Menu Guide which could really help restaurants and customers have the information they need at their fingertips, when they need it.
I am so proud to be featured in this article because the consequences of not taking allergies seriously are only too common to me. In November last year I was served a meal with so much dairy in it I had to spend the night in intensive care. This was despite letting them know online, visiting in person before the day, reminding them on arrival and numerous questions during the evening as the food just didn’t look right.
The picture above was taken at Watford General where I spent the night in intensive care, finally being well enough to go home the following day.
It brings it all back when I hear about another death…
Another tragic death at Byron
Again last week we read about the tragic death of Owen Carey who died after being served a burger which contained undeclared buttermilk.
Why did no one check? Why did staff not understand that buttermilk contains milk? I’m not sure how you can make that mistake… it’s pretty obvious. It makes me so angry because this has happened to me too on too many occasions. I can’t survive another reaction. I fear the next time will kill me. This is the reason that Owen’s parents and the rest of the allergy community think that current laws are too lax. Restaurants can rely on a verbal communication, but this allows far too much room for mistakes.
I think it has to be in writing. Otherwise it can never be safe. Staff need allergen training but they also need to be able to check quickly and easily and customers need that reassurance, because most of us have had our trust well and truly smashed by restaurants like Byron who don’t take their customers safety seriously.
You can read more in the articles below…
This next article explains Byrons proceedures, and they state that the company is acting within the law… I would argue not, and have myself left Byron burger when I’ve not been able to get a full list of ingredients, nor the assurance that my meal will be safe. Turns out my fears were not misguided: Allergic teenager who died was misled about Byron burger – coroner says
Thank you Sirin and the Guardian
By far the best article I’ve read in a long time, Eating that meal could kill you, when chefs don’t take allergies seriously... is a fantastic, well researched piece with so many case studies. I kept thinking I’d finished reading and then there was another person who had their story to tell. I would like to personally thank Sirin Kale and the Guardian for continuing to give allergies their place in the media and to help raise awareness.
Even relatives test allergies are real
What’s upsetting about this article is that even the parents, relatives and friends of people with allergies are not taking them seriously. This is just unacceptable and so worrying. Please, please people. Allergies are real. If this is really happening, how long before we have of the first allergy death after a relative “tested how serious their allergy was”? If this is you, shame on you.
Thank you all…
And so I want to thank everyone who is taking allergies seriously. To my friends and family who are my warriors, my second pair of eyes and who make my life so much easier. Thank you to the amazing restaurants who do provide full allergen information. Who understand that for themselves and their customers it can only be in writing. Verbal is not enough.
Finally, make sure you listen to my new Allergy Podcast… Allergy Today. We discuss this subject on numerous episodes because we all feel that eating out is the hardest part of living with life threatening allergies. Tune in to find out more. Episode four comes out this Thursday!