Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pet Peeves (food allergies)

Today I realized what my biggest pet peeve is when it comes to food allergies.  It's probably not what you'd expect it to be.   It doesn't involve whether or not there should be peanut products in schools.   Or people that insist on bringing peanut butter to the playground, let their kids eat and then climb around on the equipment without wiping their hands off first (although that ranks up there pretty high).

Instead, it's the people that feel they need to convince a food allergy parent that everything is fine.

*It's ok to eat at Chick-Fil-A because peanut oil is refined and doesn't count as an allergen.

*It's ok to eat foods that are cross contaminated with the allergic food.

*It's ok to eat at (fill in the blank), because the food MUST be safe.  It's only mac and cheese/pizza/meatballs/soup, etc.   How could that possibly be a problem?

UGH, because it can be!

First, unless you're an allergist, or an expert on the particular restaurant and the food that they serve (as in you manage or own that restaurant and are 100% sure of the ingredients), please don't try to convince someone that the food is ok.  Because you have no way of knowing.  Let the allergy parent do the research that we've had to become so good at, and make our own decision.

Second, don't tell someone that because your milk allergic child can eat there, your peanut and egg allergic child will be fine.  Being an "expert" in one allergy, doesn't make you an expert in all of them.

Finally, I don't understand why it's so important to someone that's not involved in the child's life.  Why would someone care whether or not a child can eat at Chick-Fil-A?  Why would you go into a five minute spiel on your opinion that a food allergic child would be ok eating at a certain restaurant?  Is it an "I know everything" type of thing?  Is it that they think food allergy parents are paranoid nutcases (no pun intended) that need saving?  Does it offend them that you won't eat at the same restaurants that they do?

Other than the obvious problem that it's annoying to a food allergy parent who's just trying to do the best for their child, it can be dangerous.  A parent who's new to food allergies may feel that you know what you're talking about, and decide to listen.   Being new to food allergies is confusing and overwhelming enough.  Receiving inaccurate information just adds to it.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I get tired of people very quickly who think they know what's best for my peanut allergic son.