Food allergies affect an estimated 1 in 13 people in the United States, making eating out a potentially dangerous activity. The need for allergy safe restaurants has become increasingly important, as those with allergies, or those dining with them, must be careful not to accidentally ingest something that could harm them in an unpredictable manner. Here are some things to look out for and my family’s go-to Allergy-Friendly Restaurants in Austin.
The first step in finding an allergy-friendly restaurant is to seek out the right information. This often includes doing some research about the restaurant and their menu before deciding to go there. First, look for a restaurant that values food safety by offering food allergen menus or labels that provide information about which ingredients are in each dish. Next, look for restaurants that have trained staff and procedures in place to handle customers’ allergies effectively. This can include the ability to answer questions about items on the menu, and accommodation such as preparing dishes specifically for people with allergies.
Second, reach out to the restaurant to confirm that its staff can meet the needs of people with allergies. If the restaurant is unable to answer questions or provide allergen information upon request, it is likely not a safe choice. Ask about what measures the restaurant has in place to avoid cross-contamination, such as using separate utensils, fryers, and food preparation surfaces.
Third, customize the request if possible. This will help to ensure that the restaurant is more likely to have the item available, as well as to avert any cross-contamination that could occur if the item is not prepared in a manner that is safe for those with allergies. Customization could also mean asking for substitutions for food items that contain the allergen, or ordering items on the menu that are naturally free of that allergen.
Finally, always be prepared to take precautions for the safety of those with allergies. This includes bringing food items from home to be prepared at the restaurant or forgoing the restaurant altogether and preparing a meal at home. With the right preparation, a safe and enjoyable dining experience can be enjoyed by everyone.