Eating takeaway or a meal from a café or restaurant could be a stressful experience for individuals with food intolerances or allergies. When somebody else prepares your food, you couldn’t possibly be 100% certain that it’s allergen-free. However, don’t let your food intolerance or allergy hinder you from eating out, simply follow the following guidelines:
- When making a reservation, inform the person taking your reservation that you have specific food intolerances or allergies. Ask him or her to ask the chef if he or she could provide meals that don’t have food items you’re allergic to.
- Upon arriving at the restaurant, inform your waiter about your intolerance or allergy. Make sure to read the menu thoroughly to check if there’s anything you’re allergic to and double check with the waiter since not all menus state food allergens, adds a food safety specialist who teaches a food handling certificate course in QLD.
- In the event that no one in the restaurant can answer your queries or if they’re not sure if they could accommodate your request, ask if you could talk to the chef personally. Otherwise, order another meal that you’re sure is allergen-free or eat in another restaurant.
- Make sure that there’s no risk of cross contamination. Ask if they’ll prepare your food using different utensils and equipment that they don’t use on foods that have allergens.
- Resist buffets or self-service if you suffer from severe or multiple allergies because it’s extremely easy for tiny amounts of allergens to accidentally get into your food so you really can’t be sure even if the food looks fine.
- Always bring your EpiPen with you if you have multiple or severe allergies.
- Never assume that the dishes you safely ate in a restaurant will be prepared and cooked the exact same manner the next time — always communicate your allergies and double check with the staff.
Dining out with family and friends doesn’t have to be impossible simply because of your food allergy or intolerance. With proper preparation and planning, you could dine out anytime without worrying that you’ll end up in the hospital.