Dear Food Industry: Please Stop Poisoning Me

This article is for all my friends, my brother and all the people who have been sent into anaphylactic shock or become violently ill because the food industry thought they could make a choice for them. Being allergic to gluten, nuts, lactose, fruits or whatever it may be is not an option but a reality for many. Regardless if someone is requesting something out of preference or requesting because it is a necessity, it is not in the power of the waiter, the chef or anyone else to ignore that decision. It is the duty of everyone in the food industry to be educated on what’s being served and what is in the dishes. If someone asks if a dish contains an allergen it is the worker’s responsibility to make sure they’re positive before they respond because it could easily be a matter of life or death.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, 32 million Americans have moderate to severe food allergies. The most common of these allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. Depending on the severity of the allergy, a person could be sent into anaphylactic shock if ingested. Anaphylactic shock is life-threatening and causes one’s blood pressure to drop, airways to constrict and the development of a rapid weak pulse. If someone is not properly made aware that they are ingesting an allergen their life becomes endangered.

Related: 14 Things Only People With Food Allergies Understand

One of the fastest rising gastrointestinal diseases is celiacs disease that damages one’s small intestine and causes several abdominal pain if ingested. Someone with celiac cannot ingest wheat, rye or barely without damaging their small intestine and having a gastrointestinal reaction. Prolonged damage to the small intestine can inhibit the ability to absorb nutrients and cause excruciating abdominal pain. Most foods contain these ingredients which is why it so imperative to not cross contaminate or serve foods contain these ingredients to those with celiacs.

For all those in the food industry, be aware and mindful that not everyone’s dietary palates are the same. Someone adjust their palates based on preference and some based on necessity. Lack of care and misjudgments can lead to fatalities and severe digestive complications. Everyone deserves the ability to eat their meal in peace and trust their food is in good hands.