Always wanted to stay at a hotel but worried that your food allergies make it impossible? When you go to a hotel you’ve never stayed at before, you have to explain to them about allergies so they can understand how and why you need to be accommodated. These are the top three things that kitchen staff at hotels need to know about food allergies.
Allergies Can Be Life-Threatening
There’s a big range of allergies, from sensitivity to life-threatening. Sensitivity means that a person will suffer from symptoms which interfere with his quality of life, such as digestive problems, migraines and sleeplessness. A severe allergy will cause a reaction within 24 hours and can be fatal. A person with sensitivities can easily eat in a hotel dining room and avoid the foods which bother him, but a person with severe allergies needs special accommodations in order to make that possible. If you or someone in your family has severe allergies, you need to make sure that the kitchen staff understands that you’re not being picky, and that exposure to certain foods could land you in the hospital or worse.
Soap Doesn’t Prevent Cross-Contact
If you need to avoid cross-contact as well as the allergens themselves, it’s important that kitchen staff know that soap only removes 80% of the allergen. Even when you can’t see traces of food, the oils from the food can still be present. Clothing, handles, towels, pots etc. need to be sterilized in order to prevent cross-contact.
Ingredient Lists Don’t Tell the Full Story
Kitchen staff at hotels often rely on the list of ingredients on a package to determine whether allergens are present in a specific food. They need to be told that ingredient lists can sometimes be deceiving, since they don’t always list hidden allergens. For instance, in the US, only the top eight allergens have to be listed, so allergies like sesame are generally not listed. Most European countries have labelling laws which do include sesame, but you need to check the law in the country you are visiting. In Israel, there are no laws at all, so labels are pretty useless. Hotels also need to be told what foods tend to have your allergens hidden in them.
Not all hotels are staffed with people who have the ability, knowledge and time to ensure that the food they serve is allergy-safe. When we encounter these types of hotels, we assess whether the staff is willing to cooperate with us, and if so, we send a supervisor to assist the chef and make sure that the meal you are served is allergy-free. This type of collaboration is great for everyone - the kitchen staff is happy to serve their guest without fear of a misstep and the guest is able to enjoy a stress-free and safe meal.
For more information on our Food Allergy Concierge services, contact email@example.com.