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Courtesy of Food Standards Agency ďEat well be wellĒ - www.eatwell.gov.uk




Tell the restaurant
When you book a table at a restaurant, tell the person taking the booking about your food allergy and ask them to check with the chef if they can provide you with a meal that doesnít contain the food you are sensitive to. If they are not sure, itís better to eat somewhere else. When you arrive at a restaurant, make sure the waiter or waitress knows about your allergy and how serious it is. If you are not confident that they understand how important it is for you to avoid a particular food then itís better not to eat there.

Ask about the dishes
Read the menu carefully to see if there is any mention of the food you are sensitive to in the name or description of a dish. Remember that the food might not be mentioned; so always check with the waiter or waitress. Tell them what dishes you are planning to order and ask them to check with the chef that they definitely do not contain the food you need to avoid. If you can, speak to the chef. If the staff donít seem sure that the dish is free from that food, itís better to order something else. If you have a nut or seed allergy, ask what oils have been used in salad dressings and if there are any nuts or seeds in the garnishes.

Watch out for 'hidden' ingredients
Be aware of foods that contain the food you are sensitive to, for example almonds in marzipan, peanuts in satay sauce, wheat flour in sauces, oyster sauce in Chinese food, fish sauce in Thai dishes, milk in some crisps or sesame seeds in houmous. If you are allergic to nuts or peanuts, be especially careful when choosing a dessert, because nuts are often used in cakes, trifles etc, for example as a decoration on top, or in the base, and they might not be included in the name or description of the dessert.

Be prepared
If you have a food allergy, always take your medication with you. If at any time during the meal you think that you may be having a reaction, stop eating and take your medication. If you think you are having a severe reaction, ask your friends, family or the restaurant staff to call for an ambulance with a paramedic. If you have an allergy to nuts, seeds or peanuts, you should be very careful with Malaysian, Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes, because these commonly contain nuts or peanuts, or are cooked in oils made from nuts, seeds or groundnuts (another name for peanuts). Many vegetarian dishes also contain nuts.

Remember that nuts could be ground up, which means you might not be able to see them. For example, ground almonds or peanut flour can be used to thicken sauces in Indian food and the chef may not think of this as nuts or peanuts when you ask about the content of the meal.

If you canít be confident that dishes are free from nuts, seeds and peanuts (and not cooked in nut, groundnut or sesame oil) itís safer to avoid eating meals or takeaways from these types of restaurant.

Remember, meals are not always made the same way, so if you have eaten a particular dish in one restaurant, donít assume it will be OK the next time or in a different restaurant.

Whichtable.com 2007
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