Restaurants must take allergies very seriously. Lives are at stake.

Posted: January 10, 2018 in Life, Science, Uncategorized
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This tragic story of an 18 year old student who died of an anaphylactic allergic reaction AFTER she warned the waiter of her allergies AND the waiter checked with the kitchen.


But she’s still dead.

We do not seek to pre-judge the deliberation and findings from this particular case before the coroner, at all, but in a general sense it can hardly be stressed enough the duty of care required of anyone who gives or sells food to another person.

Restaurants, specifically, have to protect the recipient from even touching, let alone ingesting, food containing problematic ingredients, or contaminated with them.

In an industry bedevilled with casual staffing arrangements, this is fiendishly tricky, but people simply have to take it seriously.

Quite apart from the moral responsibility, losing a criminal or civil case that resulted from a matter like this could result in imprisonment, fines, massive damages, or both.

It also highlights the absolute need for people who suffer from extreme allergies to keep their Epi-pens up to date.

Very sad. Very scary.

As the parent of an anaphylactic child (who has safely made it to 26, so far, fingers crossed) we protected her by building up her self-confidence to say “No”, and by simply not trusting wait staff and kitchens to take the matter seriously.

We lost track of the time, with eggs, for example, when she was offered cakes and biscuits, where the response to our worried enquiry “Er … wasn’t that made with eggs?” was met with dumb ignorance.

Sometimes a list of ingredients would be produced – good idea – and we would point to “Albumin” on the list. What about that? “Dunno mate, what is it?” “Um … egg white?” “No, really?”

So when she travelled round Europe as a young adult, we equipped her with a laminated explanation of her allergies and how seriously they needed to be treated, in a variety of languages to suit every country she was visiting. A total pain for a footloose youngster to have to brandish wherever she ate, to be sure, but then again she made it home alive.

Shahida didn’t.

  1. Pat says:

    Oh dear Heaven!!! What an awful thing to happen – poor Shahida and her poor friends and family… I have never been a fan of suing people, but this is a case when they should consider it, if only to try and save the lives of others, nothing will bring that lovely young girl back.

    Haven’t Epi Pens gone up by over 600% in just a few years – I remember the scandal and the utter callous greed of the people owning and running the company – and mysteriously this all happened after they were given the monopoly in America that the price rose by six times. The company don’t give a hoot that people actually have to choose between paying a mortgage and having a roof over their family’s head or buy a new Epi Pen.

    I am very glad Yolly that you gave your daughter the laminated card about her allergies and ensured she could stick up for herself and check thoroughly, no matter how socially difficult it could be – and social pressures can be huge, as we all know.

    I cannot believe that such an awful thing happened, when the poor child checked twice!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. underwriiter505 says:

    I have no trouble believing this … and your examples from your own experience, Yolly, are also not at all unusual. I am fortunate enough to be a “delayed reactor,” which has enabled me to survive some of these stupidities – so far – since my delayed reactions could change to full-blown reactions without notice at any time. Of course food service personnel don’t know what is in the food. MEDICAL personnel don’t know what is in the food.

    More than 25 years ago, I needed surgery to remove an endometrioma (benign, thank heaven), and both my regular (allergy) doctor and the primary surgeon directed me to go over with the hospital dietician how to eat and drink while there to avoid allergens. One of the things I am allergic to is corn (or maize, as many call it outside the “New World.”) Corn is cheap and versatile and is therefore in a whole lot of things (including stamp glue, back in the day when those had to be moistened.) There is a good amount of it in bouillon cubes, which are also a staple to serve post-abdominal-surgery patients. So, along with a few other things, I brought the dietitian a couple of cans of corn-free clear bouillon so they’d have it. Fortunately I was alert enough the morning after the surgery to recognize the difference between bouillon made from cubes and that from a can, because, sure enough, they gave me the wrong one. When I explained to the RN (and I emphasize RN, because that is a pretty high up professional degree, and it’s not unreasonable to expect one to be knowledgeable) that there was corn in the hospital bouillon, she said, “There’s no corn in it.” I said, “well then, why did the dietician forbid me from consuming it?” I think she still thought I was crazy, but she did get the right thing eventually. (My mother knew her from church and told me later, “She probably thought there wasn’t corn in it because she couldn’t see any corn kernels.”)

    But an even more dangerous bullet I had to dodge was the IV. Normal IVs for post-surgical patients until they can eat and drink normally are a solution of dextrose. At that time (possibly still today), ALL the dextrose in the United States was corn-derived. The nurses AND the hospital pharmacist insisted it was not. The surgeon was finally reached and said “Just put her on saline,” and because, as I said, I’m a delayed reactor, I didn’t go into anaphylaxis before they could change it. If it were happening today, what with the shortage of IV bags and saline because our criminally negligent Federal government refuses to aid Puerto Rico, where all these things are made, I probably would die of dehydration before the allergies got me.

    End of rant – thanks for letting me.


    • Stephen Yolland says:

      You are very welcome – and thanks for adding to the story about how important this is and how hard it is.

      Our daughter’s egg allergy meant she couldn’t have vaccinations cultivated in egg, for example.

      Liked by 1 person

      • underwriiter505 says:

        Yes. I can’t either. There is a flu vaccination now made without egg, but no one here seem sable to figure out how to acquire it to give. At least now I go out so seldom and see so few people when I do I am less exposed so can do without it.


        • Stephen Yolland says:

          Yes she was able to get the flu vaccine this year. I do suggest you get it if you can, this year’s flu is brutal.


        • Pat says:

          I’m glad that there are people for whom the flu vaccines work, but I am not one of them – I was given an early flu vaccine 30 years ago – not only did I get the flu but I got my first bout of pneumonia and very nearly died – never, EVER again for me.

          I really think that having a healthy gut microbiome and eating good food can help most people get rid of most germs, or have a milder attack of whatever it is – but I am still trying to restore my microbiome after it being destroyed by moronic doctors several decades running, so whenever I get to go out (not often) I take Olbas Oil with me and put it on handkerchiefs and keep wiping my hands with them and sniffing the oil. So far it has protected me from several visits to the local hospital where they have norovirus which is apparently so ubiquitous that they have had warnings about it everywhere you look there for the last five years – it has also protected me from flu here too, though I realise it wouldn’t be a practical solution for most people.

          Stay well everyone!


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