9. Do not eat out at a restaurant until you have gone through this entire list of tips and read The FDA's Current Food Allergy Labeling Guidelines (“FALCPA”)

Now that we are so far down the checklist, you probably have a good idea of how difficult it is to avoid many of the top 8 food allergens. When our child was first diagnosed, we were shocked by how many foods we had in our house that contained or were exposed to the allergens we needed to avoid. Even today, years after the diagnosis, it still takes work and constant label reading to keep offending foods out of the house.

If it's hard for a diligent parent to keep food allergens out of their own child's food, imagine how hard it is for a busy restaurant kitchen to keep allergens out of your child's food. Is the chef going to stop what they are doing and read the label of any prepackaged food they might be cooking with just to answer your question? Well, if you've found a good restaurant, they will, but can you trust them to read it correctly?

Just eat at home until you understand all the places food allergens can hide.

And if you do decide to eat out, please do the following:
1. Be prepared for a reaction by having on hand epinephrine, Benedryl, or whatever your doctor has advised you to carry.

2. Tell your wait person exactly what allergies your child has, and ask them to tell you what the safe items on the menu are. Ask for the manager if you don't get a satisfactory answer.

3. Don't get a baked dessert

Also, when you get the menu, scan it look for words such as, “We use peanut products at our restaurant” or “Please be advised that all items on the menu might contain peanuts.” This restaurant is trying to tell you that there are peanuts in the kitchen, and any food coming out of the kitchen might be exposed to peanuts. In other words, assume everything on the menu has touched peanuts. If your child has a peanut allergy, politely thank your wait person for including such a helpful warning, and get up and leave before you order.


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