8th December 2017
We recognise that many people are increasingly making lifestyle choices when it comes to their diet, choosing to exclude certain food groups as an ethical choice, with the intention of losing weight or for other health reasons, and respect their decision to do so. We would always advise speaking to your GP before making significant changes to your diet or physical activity levels.
However, it is so important to remember that for people living with food allergy, the decisions they make regarding what they eat, where they choose to eat out and how they shop are made from necessity to reduce the risk of experiencing a life threatening severe allergic reaction (known as anaphylaxis) which can be fatal.
It is therefore right to take the requests of a person with food allergy, or their parent or carer, very seriously and we note that this is something Raymond Blanc asserts is a practice in his restaurant Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
However, it is worth emphasising that a severe allergic reaction can occur at any place, at any time – whether in a kitchen, in a hospital or at home. This is why the Anaphylaxis Campaign exists to provide advice and support for the food industry, education providers and healthcare professionals, as well as people at risk of severe allergic reactions, and campaign to ensure to create a safer future for all people living with allergies.
If you are eating out this festive season, and are making a request about your meal due to a lifestyle choice, rather than due to having a medical condition such as food allergy, please consider how you phrase your ask to the chef and other catering staff. People at risk of severe reactions do not use the word allergy lightly; there are real risks.
If you are choosing to cut certain food groups out of your diet because you suspect you have an allergy or a food intolerance, but this has not been diagnosed, we urge you to visit your GP for confirmation. We have a unique online patient pathway which will take you the steps that should be taken to ensure you receive the appropriate information, treatment and management advice from healthcare professionals. Visit www.aimallergy.co.uk.
By law, food businesses selling catered food (for example in restaurants, takeaways and hotels) are required to provide information on major allergenic ingredients, either in writing and/or orally. If information is provided orally, the food business will need to ensure that there is some sort of written signage that is clearly visible, to indicate that allergen information is available from a member of staff. Systems should also be in place to ensure that, if requested, the information given orally is supported in a recorded form to ensure consistency and accuracy.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact our helpline team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 542 029.