Taking food allergies seriously

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Today’s blog is a mini-rant. Food allergies affect up to 15 million people in the United States. Every three minutes, someone in the US seeks emergency services for a food allergy. Yet it seems like people don’t take allergies seriously, urging allergy sufferers to “just take a bite.” I once had someone assume I just didn’t like shellfish. They assured me that there was only imitation crab (usually made from pollock, a finned fish) in the dip they had made. I did not need to seek emergency care, but was too ill to work the next day, costing my employer sick pay.

This week, a Canadian server is facing charges because he failed to write down a customer’s order. The man told the waiter he had a seafood allergy, but was served a salmon dish. Due to the low lighting in the bar, he failed to notice this fact until he had taken the first bite. This single bite put him in a coma for two days.

I think the reason people don’t take food allergies seriously is because so many people use “I have an allergy to that” as an excuse to avoid food they simply dislike. Whether this stems from social anxiety, their desire to avoid offending the cook, or an inability to use their big girl words, it has real consequences for people who actually do have food allergies.

In my case, my shellfish allergy began in adulthood and I didn’t initially realize I had one. I had begun getting rashes after eating shrimp, although I did not initially make that connection since I had never experienced symptoms before. It took someone pointing out to me that my hives and swelling looked like an allergic reaction for the lightbulb to come on. The four times that I have experienced an allergic reaction have increased in severity of symptoms and a fifth time could find me in a hospital.

I ask that those hosting parties and working in the food service industry take allergies seriously. It’s possible that the guest is a hypochondriac or expressing their dislike of a food, but with grave health consequences for them and criminal charges for you on the line, it’s not worth taking the risk.

Image source

And now for some cozy things I liked today:

Cooking video of the day: Chorizo and Chicken Tray Bake

Good news of the day: Stray pup who kept showing up at flight attendant’s hotel finally adopted

Cute pet of the day:

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