Let's face it, im embarrassed to sit here and have to write this. Restaurants and Takeaways lack regulation in how foods are cooked, stored, advertised to the consumer and more embarrasingly most places cannot tell you accurately what the ingredients are and cannot guarantee that a certain ingredient is not present.
All you need to do is spend one day with someone who has an allergy to something and you will soon realise the ridiclous state the food industry is in. It mainly comes down to laziness of the restaurant / takeaway owners and staff.
I've worked as a Chef for 10 years at some pretty recognised restaurants and was lucky enough that they did have systems in place. I was taught early on the importance of knowing product and how this could affect someone with an allergy.
I have a friend who has an unusual allergy to pork and pork related products. This specific allergy is related to a carbohydrate called alpha-gal.
Consuming pork or pork related products can have the following affects:
- Hives or skin rash
- Nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea
- Stuffy/runny nose
- Anaphylaxis, a severe potentially deadly allergic reaction that restricts breathing
The real problem is with naive hospitality workers who think it is Ok to cook bacon or pork related products with other meats and vegetables and not tell the consumer.
We've ordered Pizza on many occasions where we specified no bacon or pork related products, only to have salami, pepperoni or prosouto on the pizza. When we called back it became obvious that the order taker did not know that salami, pepperoni or prosouto were pork products.
It brings me back to a question.. how the fuck can you be serving food to people when you do not know what is in the food or know the products and origin. Reality check.. A drone could do your job better than you.
Last weekend we went to Grill'd Burgers, they're so called popular for their awesome burgers. We ordered two chicken burgers and specified no bacon or pork related products due to serious allergy. While they took this on board, I've not witnessed anyone have to fuck around as much as they did. They came out and advised that they cook their bacon with everything else on the same grill.
I immediately felt sorry for vegetarians who think they are getting a vegetarian safe burger, in fact your mushroom burger is cooked in bacon and beef juices enjoy!
Or you get ignorant assholes at takeaway stores, where I advised of a pork related allergy and then ordered a cheese and spinach pocket, he decided to heat it up for us. You know where he heated it up, on the grill that he was cooking bacon on. He then used the same utensils (tongs) to touch the bacon and then pick up the cheese and spinach pocket.
By now I was really pissed off.. He handed me the food, and I handed it back and said 'now you have coooked it put it in the bin'. His response was bloody rude customers. I then grilled him about how he cooked it, and contamined it with bacon. He denied it yet I stood there and saw it all. I could see him cooking. Man was this guy dumb.
Or we have this mornings incident where I purchased a BEEF AND EGG ROLL, only to find that they have random bits of bacon on the roll. This was not advised anywhere and simply was not the product I had paid for.
I cannot emphasis enough the importance of training your staff and teaching yourself more about food, products, contamination and mindful cooking for people with allergys.
Mind you, most of our bad experiences have come from the Central Coast, where they do not know what quality food or service is to start with. We have experienced consistent issues with Dominos Pizza, Pizza Hut & Hungry Jacks.