Monday, February 05, 2007

Australian Food Allergy Article

My Google alert for "peanut allergy" came up with this excellent article today. There is some very good information about cross-contamination and the dangers that food allergy sufferers face when eating out, including some examples of anaphylaxis due to cross-contaminated restaurant kitchens.

"Restaurants, food outlets and event caterers aren't the only ones with something to learn. Alessandro Teghini is 24 and allergic to egg, nuts and dairy food. He has been fortunate enough to need his EpiPen only once -- in a bar. "I was out at a cocktail bar in the city and I ordered a cocktail that didn't have any egg, milk or nuts in it. After a sip or two I felt my throat swelling up and ... I was violently ill and collapsed.

"[The bar staff] hadn't washed out the cocktail shaker beforehand and it must have had a milk-based cocktail or a nutty one in it, something that I couldn't have." Luckily, Teghini's friend knew how to use an EpiPen."

This cross-contamination thing is a very real danger that can be difficult to appreciate by new patients and non-food-allergic individuals. This is why labels must be read every time. This is why questions must be asked every time. This is why there can be no mistakes. This is why Ryan should never eat at a Chinese, Thai, or Indian restaurant. This is why everyone who can possibly be trained to use an Epipen should be informed and trained.

Really, I could drive myself insane about it if I don't stop right now, so I will. :o)

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