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Allergen information at supermarket cafes(11 Posts)
My DD is almost 4 and has always had multiple food allergies but it was only this summer I got brave enough to start ordering her food when eating out rather than bringing my own (complicated by 2 years old DS who has type 1 diabetes and so I have to carb count every morsel that passes his lips). Anyway, it's been much easier than I expected and DD really loves it (possibly because she inevitably ends up with chips in there somewhere!).
Anyway, I digress. This post relates to an experience I had at Morrisons last week. I got to the till ready to order some chips for DD and to check that they were dairy, egg, nuts and sesame free (which they nearly always are) to be told that I'd have to fill in a form at Customer Services and then they would write out to my home address with the allergen information. I'm assuming this is standard practice at Morrisons but if anybody has had a more happy experience there then I'd like to hear about it. We ended up with beans on unbuttered bread.
I've tried Sainsburys with no bother (even though they weren't exactly gracious about it) but not Tesco. Can anybody tell me what to expect in Tesco i.e. will they be able to give me the allergen information there and then? Thanks
Really? How weird! Must be a new thing as we have eaten in Morrisons loads of times without that happening.
Have no experience of Tesco cafe I'm afraid, but Sainsburys has always been fine.
Interesting! Maybe it was indeed a new thing, or specific to this particular store. They did seem a bit embarrassed about it, especially when I loudly told DD she wasn't getting chips after all.
I find that very odd.
We eat in our local Asda cafe fairly regularly, and also in shopping centre cafes, but I am only happy to do so if the staff can tell me on the day that the ingredients are okay. Usually, they go and get the box that the sausages (or whatever) came in and let me check the ingredients for myself. Mostly they are happy to do this, but if they can't produce the box, or if they get shirty about it, we don't take the risk. In places where we are well-known, the assistants smile in a friendly way and say "it's okay, they're still the same".
We tried eating in a Sainsbury''s cafe once, but staff couldn't produce any allergen information so we didn't bother in the end. I've never tried Tescos.
We had a close shave in a Debenhams cafe once, when a bright young assistant realised at the very last minute that the sausages being cooked that day were not the same brand that were listed in the 'allergy file' kept behind the counter, and did in fact contain egg. I was very grateful to that young woman!
I would talk to the Morrisons head office about this. It doesn't seem like the best way to keep people with allergies safe.
The last time we went to Sainsburys cafe, they had put up new notices that basically said any food prepared in their cafe could potentially contain any allergen . I know this is a bit of a catch-all back-covering thing, but I take it to mean that the staff will have had no information on allergies, their potential consequences, and the avoidance of cross-contamination, etc, so I don't chance it. I Used to eat there loads with dd (no known allergies), but don't take ds now so they've lost my weekly shop money as well as the
extorionate amount we used to spend in the cafe each week.
I've been wondering about Tescos cafe, as this is where we now do the weekly shop. I used to avoid it tbh, as the childrens sandwiches always seemed stale to me, and the choice was pretty woeful for the price you paid. I did plan on trying it again though, as it's a long time since I ventured in there, so I will have a look this week and report back. Fingers crossed!
Have a look at the Anaphylaxis Campaign website as it has lots of info on new EU regulations which will apply to provision of allergy info in cafes etc - these will be coming into force in Dec 2013 I believe - until then there is no strict obligation to provide info
This blog has some interesting stuff on the new legislation...
I am pretty sure that the Food Standards Agency is also running a consultation on the use of "may contain" - again the Anaphylaxis Campaign will have full details and is campaigning on our behalf
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Hello there AnaphylaxisCampaign - you are very welcome on our boards! Perhaps you could start a thread to introduce yourself?
AnaphylaxisCampaign, it is great to see you here and that is a very useful link. Will catering establisments have to provide details of all ingredients, or just the major allergens? (we also have to check for some other stuff, e.g. pulses and bananas)
Casabevron I saw that notice in Sainsburys too, the one about any food possibly containing any allergen. I wouldn't have minded so much, except that when I asked about specific ingredients, the staff just pointed to the notice and said they couldn't provide me with any further information. I hate those generalised 'may contain' labels - it almost feels like they are saying "if you have allergies then we don't want you here because you are too much of a risk". (It also feels a little bit discriminatory to me - after all, they wouldn't be able to get away with not providing wheelchair access because they couldn't be bothered to train their staff to help customers use the lift... but perhaps I'm being just a tiny bit unreasonable there?)
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