eating out Archives - Lifelab Testing

Eating at restaurants with a food sensitivity

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 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

Coping with Allergies On Holiday

Having an allergy flare-up while on a hard-earned holiday can really put a dampener on things. Also, there’s much to think about when you’re preparing to jet off abroad, like making sure your case isn’t too heavy for the baggage allowance or whether your passport is in date or not.

What often gets overlooked in all the commotion of preparing for a break is how any allergies you have are going to be managed whilst you’re away. This can be a real concern, particularly if you have a severe allergy. So, to allay any of your pre-holiday fears, we’ve written this article to give you a few pointers on avoiding any unnecessary and unpleasant reactions and one includes taking a Lifelab allergy test.

Avoiding Allergies on Holiday

Taking an allergy test is an extremely effective way of putting your finger right on exactly what triggers your body to react. There are millions of people that have allergies and just cope with them but aren’t 100% sure about what causes them. Having an allergy test can really change the landscape for someone who suffers from the adverse reactions caused by an allergy, by putting that person back in control. 

Do Your Preparation

Before you go to your destination of choice, the internet can be of great help to dealing with allergies. By researching the local area, its cuisine and its facilities, it is possible to paint a pretty accurate picture of what to expect when you get there. The hotel you’re staying at is another useful sounding board to use, to find out exactly what options you have.

Allergies are a problem for people all around the world, so the chances are, they’ll be able to give you some good advice on circumventing the problem during your stay.

Learn the Lingo

Ok, so we’re not suggesting that you try and learn the whole language of the country you’re visiting, rather, just some key phrases to help you in restaurants. Being able to converse with your waiter or whoever’s preparing your food will help you a) avoid unknowingly eating or drinking something that triggers a reaction and b) enjoy more choice when eating.

Don’t worry if you’re not great at languages, as most smartphones have travel apps to help you get around the problem….and there’s always Google Translate!

Ensure Everyone in Your Party Knows 

If you’re in a sizeable travelling party and you’ve not told everyone about the allergies you’ve discovered from taking an allergy test or any of the foods you’re not able to eat, you’re putting yourself at risk. You may not be involved in ordering everything you end up eating in a large group, so everyone must be told. Also, make everyone in the party aware of where you keep your allergy EpiPen if you have one- and how to use it – so that they know what to do and where to look, should the worst happen.

Make Sure Your Insurance Covers You

Not all travel insurance covers you for the medical treatment needed when something like anaphylaxis strikes, so checking the small print of your policy is a very good move. You don’t want to find out that it doesn’t cover you right at the point it’s needed the most.

If you would like to find out more about anything mentioned here or would like to order your own Home allergy test that checks you against dozens of potential allergens, you’ll find we have a range of four tests for you. There’s even a handy ‘live chat’ box for you to speak directly to one of our friendly Lifelab Testing experts about how an allergy test can free you from the misery that allergies can cause.

We thank you for reading our blog and if you’re about head off to warmer climates, we hope you enjoy your holiday.

Click Here to read our blog on A Family with Allergies about a wonderful lady and her children who suffer from a huge range of reactions. 

Food Allergies: Managing Them At Work

An allergy to food can be a minor problem as well something much more serious and it is a condition that affects as many as 2 million in the UK alone, according to recent research carried out by the Food Standards Agency. Whilst an acute food allergy can be a problem at home, controlling what you eat can get a bit trickier when you’re at work.

Forewarned is forearmed

If you start a new job in a new place of work and you have a serious food allergy, e.g. a peanut allergy, it is imperative that you inform your new work colleagues of the fact. If done in the right way, there should be no reason why this should be a problem and this achieves two things, right off the bat;

1. Your workmates know not to offer you any of the food,

2. If you’ve also told them of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, they’ll know what to look out for in the event of an attack.

Knowledge is King

There are a number of things that you can do to make your new workplace a safer environment for yourself, whether you were born with the condition or you have developed it later in life.

If you give your boss, or whoever deals with such things at work, some detailed written information about your allergies and more pointedly, information about how to spot the signs of a reaction, then you’ll be certain that in event of an attack, no time will be wasted by your colleagues as a result of not knowing what to do.

Another good tip is to keep an ephrenine shot somewhere safe at work that everyone knows about it and ensure that everyone is given some instruction on how to administer it.

As an Employer

If you are an employer of people in an office type workplace or somewhere that has communal food areas, then there’s plenty to you can do to protect staff with acute food allergies.

❏ You could offer training courses on allergy awareness 
❏ You could give those with food allergies a different, separate place to store their foods, as well as separate cutlery, cups and plates 
❏ Be understanding with illnesses related to allergies and time off for doctor’s appointments

Work shouldn’t be a dangerous place to be for anyone and with a few simple measures, bosses and employees alike can look out for each other and prevent any unnecessary problems occurring.

Getting Screened for Acute Allergies

Any type of food can, potentially, represent a food allergen, but most of those that cause anaphylaxis tend to be from a small group that includes peanuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, fish, milk, eggs, shellfish and some types of preservative.

It is by no means guaranteed, but acute food allergies can develop or be passed on in the genes, so if you’re worried that you or someone you love might have this kind of condition, then there’s an easy, affordable way to find out.

Go online to our website and pay as little as £75 for a fast and simple blood screening process that will pinpoint any issues that you or they may have, before they result in the unpleasant condition that is anaphylaxis.

If you’d like to know more, our site also has a ‘live chat’ facility, through which you can talk to one of our approachable experts. If you live with this kind allergy, then you’ll know that avoiding it is certainly something you want to do and with the right information, you can do just that.