Allergies – Facts Vs Myths

Allergies affect around 2 million people in the UK, and for some, living with allergies can have a huge impact on their day-to-day life.

As restauranteurs, café owners or food establishment proprietors, we should be clued up on the facts about allergies and how they might affect our customers. Having an allergy, shouldn’t stop people from being able to enjoy an evening out with friends, picnics in the park or generally enjoying life, and catering for their needs can open up a whole new demographic for your business, as well as supporting your existing clientele.

In this blog, we are going to explore 5 common myths about allergies and give you some valuable information on how to support your customers who may fall into this bracket.

  1. Allergies can be overcome by cutting down on consumption
    No! This is absolutely not true and, if you were to introduce even a small amount of something somebody was allergic to into their diet, you could cause them some serious harm, or even death.

If someone tells you they are allergic to something, do not give them any foods containing that substance, even if you think they aren’t telling the truth, severe allergic reactions are not something to toy with.

  1. An Intolerance and an allergy are the same thing.
    This is a very common misconception. An allergy can trigger what’s called anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening if left untreated. In comparison, an intolerance cannot trigger anaphylaxis but may have some similar symptoms, and overtime can cause damage to your digestive system if you don’t stay away from that food.

With an intolerance and an allergy, it is best to completely stay away from the cause. This is where food labelling comes in. With Allergen Checker, you can easily label pre-packed foods with any allergens so you and your customers are protected.

It’s food additives that cause the most problems with allergies
False! It is actually natural foods that are more likely to cause problems and, the listed 14 allergens is made up of natural foods as below:

  • celery,

  • cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats),

  • crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters),

  • eggs,

  • fish,

  • lupin,

  • milk,

  • molluscs

  • mustard,

  • peanuts,

  • sesame,

  • soybeans,

  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites

  • tree nuts

It is important to have all of these listed on your products if they are present.

  1. Peanuts cause the worst allergic reactions
    This one is also untrue. Peanut allergens are more common than some of the other allergens, however, the reaction from peanuts is no worse than any other.

The reaction to the allergen can be mild or severe, and the reaction will depend on the individual and how their body reacts to it. If you are labelling food, don’t miss out the other allergens, they can all be as equally dangerous if consumed by someone who is allergic.

  1. Only children have food allergies
    Whilst it is more likely that you will develop an allergy as a child, it is not uncommon for adults to develop allergies and, you can even develop an allergy to something you have regularly eaten throughout your life.

No matter the age of your customer, you should always make them aware of any potential allergens in their food. This has historically been acceptable to do verbally but, from October 2021 it will be a legal requirement to label your prepacked food products correctly.

If you are looking for an intuitive, user-friendly system to help you organise your product labelling, try Allergen Checker free.