Eating out with allergies: the ‘rules’

IMG_1611THERE I WAS, poised to press ‘publish’ on my next post: our top 10 allergy friendly places to eat from 2014. Finding safe spots is never easy, but over the past year we’ve clocked up a few favourites.

Then I realised I should probably preface this post with The Rules. They are the steps we take, and the key things we consider, whenever we eat out. I’m sure others will have more to add, but this is simply how we go about things. Here goes:

* I always ring and email in advance to check the manager and chef are aware, and in some cases we pre-order our meal. It starts as a sussing-out call – do they sound as if they know what they’re doing? If not, forget it. If they do, I’ll go into greater detail, stress that we need the food to be prepped free from cross-contamination, and find out what dishes are likely to be safe for Sidney to eat. I’ll usually summarise the allergies and what we’ve mutually agreed in an email before our booking date. If nothing else, it’s only fair to give a place advance warning where possible and to explain fully what we’re after. Continue reading “Eating out with allergies: the ‘rules’”

Is it nuts to ban gluten? On changes to the allergy labelling laws

getty_rm_photo_of_nut_allergy_warning_label GO SHOPPING for food over the coming months and, if you’re a label-scrutiniser like me, you’ll notice some changes. Over time, those omnipresent allergy ‘contains’ boxes (see left) will be phased out. Instead, allergens will be listed in the ingredients only. Moreover, you won’t see the words ‘contains gluten’. The word gluten in this context will, from next year, be banned.

Why? It’s all part of an EU directive on food labelling that comes into effect in December 2014. Earlier this year the UK government conducted a public consultation on the way those changes should be implemented. Last month the Food Standards Agency issued its guidance on how the new rules will work.

Continue reading “Is it nuts to ban gluten? On changes to the allergy labelling laws”