It seems that more people have peanut allergies today compared to 15 or even 10 years ago. There are many media reports of people suffering severe and fatal allergic reactions after dining out or eating take out from a restaurant because they were exposed to peanuts.
If you or your child suffers from a peanut allergy, eating out can be very stressful. You lose an element of control over meal preparation. You may be worried about peanuts accidentally getting in the dish because you did not pick out the ingredients and prepare the meal. You may also be worried about cross-contamination because you did not wash the pots and pans used to prepare the dish. It is not uncommon that some parents whose kids have peanut allergies or people with peanut allergies may avoid going out to eat at restaurants altogether.
Before eating at a restaurant, it is important to do some research to determine if the restaurant is safe for you or your child to eat at. Most national restaurant chains provide nutrition information for the dishes on the menu, which may be accessible on the internet.
Some national restaurants also have peanut-free menus. For instance, California Pizza Kitchen's menu items for kids contain no peanuts. However, some dishes on the adult/regular menu have peanuts in them. California Pizza Kitchen has several locations throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey; there are locations in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill. To see other locations, please visit their website: www.cpk.com.
There are also many online resources for people with allergies, including peanut allergies, that discuss allergy friendly restaurants. One such online resource is www.allergyeats.com.
The website's tagline is "your online guide to allergy friendly restaurants." It is only a guide and not a guarantee. Visitors may search for an allergy friendly restaurant in a specific geographic location. Visitors click on "search," select the allergy they have, provide the zip code or city of where they are trying to find a restaurant and click "find a restaurant."
It will then return a list of restaurants near the location you are searching. In addition, each restaurant has reviews/ratings by customers who have food allergies that have dined there.
It may be a bit scary and nerve wrecking for people with food allergies to go to restaurants they have never been to. The information on this website may help ease their anxiety and can help manage expectations, i.e., whether the restaurant has been visited and reviewed by others with the same allergies. It is important to keep in mind that the ratings are submitted by peers and not allergy experts. Therefore, even though it is a great resource, people with food allergies should always ask questions when they are dining at the restaurants to make sure they are not exposed to the food allergen.
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