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Allergy awareness is good, but actually acting on that awareness would be better
By Richard Amrhine
WE TOOK a won-
Peanut-allergy awareness has risen over the past decade along with the number of people affected, but it's unfortunate that so many hurdles remain for these and other food-allergic people. The hurdles are erected by everyone from the server who comes to your restaurant table, to the largest national food-producing conglomerates.
Some restaurant servers are very understanding, for which we are always appreciative. One national chain we know, Chili's (and maybe others we're not aware of), has a menu supplement listing the ingredients in each menu item. That's good PR.
On the other extreme is the occasional server whose reaction to "I have a peanut allergy and need to be sure what I'm ordering will be free of nuts, peanuts, or peanut oil" is a blank stare and a delayed "You what?"
After visiting with a superior of some sort, the server returns to say, "We don't offer any guarantees about anything on the menu."
This information is unresponsive and irrelevant. Would you prefer that we leave? We simply want to know the prevalence of peanuts and nuts in the menu items and if care is or can be taken to prevent cross-contamination, such as avoiding unwashed cooking utensils that were used to prepare any nut-containing dishes.
I submit that this is not too much to ask, assuming that utensils do get washed.
Current statistics show that about 12 million, or
On our return flight, the attendant came through with snacks. You could get a bag of peanuts, or you could get a bag of pretzels. On the pretzels there is the warning: "Manufactured on equipment that processes peanuts and tree nuts."
"Do you have an alternative for someone with a peanut allergy?" we asked.