Dear Restaurants, Please Take Food Allergies Seriously
Food allergies are nothing to play with and I think restaurants need to be more vigilant.
I'll admit, I wasn't always very fully aware of the real severity of food allergies. I knew they could be deadly and obviously very serious, but I truly never paid them any mind.
Once I met my fiancée, I learned very quickly how serious these allergies can be. She's forced to carry an EpiPen at all times to save her life, just in case. It's a truly crazy thing to think about. It definitely makes going out to dinner a lot harder.
At home, we're in control of what goes into what we eat. When you go out to eat, you're forced to put your trust in someone else's hands. First, you have to trust that your server will properly enter your food allergies to make sure the kitchen knows. Next, you have to trust that in the kitchen they will see and acknowledge that allergy. Then you have to hope they're changing gloves and cleaning their work station to ensure that there's no possible cross contamination. ANY breakdown in that process can lead to a very dire situation.
Unfortunately for my fiancée, within the last six months she's been rushed to the ER after a restaurant failed to properly flag her allergy.
The first time I was with her when it happened, it was terrifying. She turned red quickly and could feel her throat closing. I listened to her voice become scratchy as it happened. I was literally listening to her lose the ability to breath. Luckily, it was only because of her seed allergy, which is less severe, but it didn't take away from the terror in the moment.
The second time I wasn't with her, and wasn't able to get to the hospital until she had already been there for over an hour. This time, it was her nut allergy, which is very severe. I could have lost my fiancée all because someone wasn't trained properly on entering orders.
I know there are plenty of restaurants that do take this very seriously. I know there are many that don't play whatsoever when it comes to allergies, and to you I say thank you.
To the others I not only ask, but beg that you review how you handle food allergies. In both instances, this was because of poor performance from the staff. The first time it was a server that was about to get off work, and she wasn't focused. The second time it was simply someone who didn't know how to properly enter the allergy. This is NOT a game. This is not something you can play with. You can permanently alter someone's life just by not being vigilant about this.
Food allergies aren't a game, and those who have them shouldn't have to be scared to dine out. They shouldn't have to fear that someone will play with their life, just because it's the end of a long shift.
A restaurant almost certainly will lose any and all business if they're the reason someone dies because of this.
It's nothing to play with, so again I ask, please take this more seriously. Train your staff. Make it mandatory that they know those things. They shouldn't be able to serve at all until they have proven that they know how serious it is to have these allergies entered correctly. It's not like giving someone lettuce on their burger when they asked for none. It's quite literally life and death.
It'd hate to see someone lose a life, and another person lose a business, over something so simple to prevent.