Food Sensitivities and Allergen Guides

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But I don’t have allergies…

Now more than ever we are ordering food online. We can get food from pretty much any restaurant our heart desires. You want McDonalds? Get it delivered. Chipotle? It’ll be at your house. It’s taco Tuesday and you wish for Taco Bell, why not order some? You want TGIF’s or Red Robin? Grab an order for delivery or even curbside pick up. Everything is online now and can be delivered to your house, which is great, but with food sensitivities or allergies it may be even to harder to find out if the food is safe or not.

Each restaurant is different with what they show online. Some may show every ingredient in each food item, while others may provide just an allergen guide, which in my case doesn’t help as I don’t have allergies, but sensitivities to canola oil and soy lecithin. Now soy lecithin may be listed in an allergen guide because of soy being a main 8 allergen, but canola oil, however will not. Plus, with soy lecithin, if on the guide it is only marked off as soy, well, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean soybean, soy lecithin, or just straight up soy? So, soy lecithin can be tricky too. With an allergen guide, all that there is listed for each food item is whether or not it contains one of the main 8 allergens, which doesn’t help me one bit. What oil is used? Do you use canola oil for frying? Does this item already contain canola oil in it? Are your meats pre-marinated in canola oil? Is canola oil used at all? That’s the information I need to know, not if it has gluten, or dairy, or soy in it.

Allergen Guide

Now, those restaurants that do list every ingredient often include what oil they use, although some do not. Five Guys for example, lists everything; the nutrition facts, allergen guide, and ingredients. They even state what oil they use. Thanks to Five Guys, I know I can safely eat their fries because it clearly says on their website that the fries are cooked in peanut oil. So without having to call or walk in and ask, I can just look at their website and know whether a food is safe or not to consume, which is how it should be. Then I can order Five Guys online without having to talk to anyone and have it arrive it my house no problem, just like anyone else.

Five Guys Nutrition/Allergen Guide & Ingredient List
Five Guys Menu

On the other hand, however other restaurants, like the 99 Restaurant & Pub, may have an allergen guide and no ingredient list nor statement of what oil is used online, which does not not help me at all. The 99 for example, has an allergen guide of “please select the allergens you would like to avoid”, photographed below. The problem is I’m not trying to avoid an allergy, I’m trying to avoid canola oil and soy lecithin. Can you tell me what oil you use? Can you give me a list of ingredients for each food item? That’s what I need to know.

99's Allergen Guide

And during this time where you order online, restaurants are too busy to call and ask all these questions about ingredients and what I can safely consume. I feel like it is too much of a hassle to discuss over the phone possible options instead of going online and ordering online. I’m better off just eating my own meal of food that we have at home while everyone else eats restaurant food, which can be sad at times that you have to eat something different and make it yourself while others can enjoy their already made restaurant meal not to mention dessert. It doesn’t seem fair at times.

All restaurants should be the same in what they post online. Every restaurant should have an ingredient list, state what oil is used, as well as an allergen guide and nutrition facts. It would make life a whole lot easier for those of us with dietary restrictions to just be able to see the ingredients and decide for ourselves what would be safe to eat. I feel like a restaurant is hiding something if they don’t share their ingredients for their food products and there is something we are eating that they don’t want us to know about. I would like to enjoy a meal with my family from a restaurant and order online just like everyone else. All I ask is for restaurants to post ingredients online to make life a whole lot easier. Sometimes you just want to order out and not cook anything and have food show up to your house, especially now during a pandemic and it will be a lot easier when you can see the ingredients. Why can’t those with allergies, sensitivities or dietary restrictions enjoy a fast food/restaurant meal like everyone else without having to go the extra mile of calling and asking or safely not getting anything by just being able to read the ingredients? Make it easy and fair for everyone dietary needs or not.

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