Eating at restaurants with a food sensitivity
Last Updated: 12th January 2023 · Written by Donna Mastriani
A new YouGov survey has revealed that 25% of people with food sensitivities feel that restaurants do not take their intolerances or allergies seriously. Below, Lifelab Testing is sharing its top tips for ensuring you can eat safely when out and about if you are suffering from food sensitivities:
Plan ahead and speak to the restaurant
Every restaurant and café should now, by law, have an allergens list available for its customers to look through, with the allergens for each product clearly marked to ensure no one with an allergy will consume the food.
Learn the alternative name of your allergen
There are a number of food allergens which can be listed under alternative names, and this make identifying them more difficult, so getting to know these are crucial. Alternative names include: Albumin (egg), einkorn (wheat), triticale (wheat), yakidofu (soy) and okara (soy).
Check for cross-contamination
Allergens can be found in a product through cross contamination with other products being made in the same kitchens. The law usually requires that food labels and menus state if cross-contamination could have occurred, however if food items are made on-site then it does not need to be stated – always check with staff.
Always read the label twice if you know it is processed
Processed foods often include ingredients such as soy, milk, egg and wheat to act as preservatives, or to enhance texture or flavour – allergy sufferers are urged to take extra care when purchasing and consuming these products.
Advise the Food Standards Agency
If a sensitivity is triggered by a specific food that shouldn’t include the allergen, the consumer should report the incident to the Food Standards Agency, who can issue advice and potentially recall the product.
Subscribe to the Food Standards Agency
As a result of incident reports and testing, the Food Standards Agency issue product recalls as soon as they happen, in order to avoid any further reactions.
Make sure friends and family know the signs
Ensuring that friends and family know the signs of an allergic reaction is crucial and can be life-saving. These can include: swelling of the throat or tongue, causing the individual to sound hoarse and have difficulty swallowing; a rash or swelling to parts of the face; breathing difficulties; low blood pressure, causing dizziness or fainting; and abdominal pain or vomiting.
Lifelab Testing offers a range of at-home intolerance and allergy testing kits, alongside access to a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist to discuss any results customers receive and how to ensure diets are filled with all necessary nutrients. Tests are available from just £74.99 at www.lifelabtesting.com. Let us know if any of these work for you by visiting our Facebook page:
The full YouGov survey results can be found here or at yougov.co.uk.