For anyone with food allergies, dining out in Massachusetts can be a scary experience. You never know if a restaurant will warn you about foods containing potential allergens and what type of reaction you might get from eating their food. That’s why it’s common to see personal injury lawsuits stemming from restaurant food allergies. If you have allergic reactions to food but love dining out, here’s what you need to know:
What are the most common restaurant-served foods that cause allergies?
The eight most common food allergens are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, soy and dairy can also cause allergies. Many people are also allergic to nightshade vegetables, such as bell peppers and tomatoes.
How responsible restaurants can handle this issue
Firstly, all restaurants should clearly label foods that contain allergens. This will help those with allergies make better food choices and avoid any allergen-related accidents.
Restaurants must also train their employees to ask customers if they have any allergies and how to how to handle allergic reactions if they occur. Employees must maintain proper personal hygiene after touching certain foods, like shellfish, to avoid cross-contamination, especially in the kitchen. Failing to train employees or take adequate safety precautions could result in a personal injury or negligence claim against the establishment.
Is there government legislation to help control food allergies?
Unfortunately, restaurants are not required by the government to label allergens. They aren’t even required to disclose specific ingredients in meals. The only legislation in place regarding personal injury is the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which requires manufacturers of packaged foods to disclose ingredients that contain major allergens. However, this policy doesn’t extend to restaurants.
When dining out, it’s important to stay aware of your allergy and ask questions about ingredients before you order anything from the menu. If possible, choose a restaurant that clearly labels allergens and has an allergen-free menu.
Where do we come in?
Our office has successfully represented victims of food allergies as a result of the restaurant’s negligent training of staff and lack of food allergy awareness. We are proud of the fact that as a result of litigation, we brought awareness to the public and food industry on the importance of open communication regarding food allergies.
If you are dining out with food allergies, be sure to tell a manager or waiter about your allergies, ask what is in your dish and how it is prepared, and carry your EpiPen at all times. If you or a loved one experiences an allergic reaction as the result of a restaurant’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Richard C. Bardi & Associates LLC to discuss your options.
This post is for general informational purposes and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Consult a Massachusetts attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail; however, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.