Anyone who has been a part of the food service industry knows that there are often unfortunate incidents where the servers or the kitchen can mess up a customer’s order. (Or I’ve just worked in really, really bad places.) But it’s not the end of the world if you spot the error before they dig in. You can always apologize, offer a complimentary coffee, and have the chef prepare another meal. However, not everyone possesses basic logic. And some are downright evil.
A viral Tumblr thread has just resurfaced after Redditors dug it up and reshared it on their own platform. The online conversation reminds servers that allergies and disease are no joke and urges them to “make the food and drinks people order the way they f****** order them.” Which is the least that someone who pays money for nut-free granola can ask for, right? To not die from it?
Image credits: Jennifer Bedoya
To put this thread into context, consider this: over 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions but the major culprits are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. They are usually the ones responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions.
Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18. That equates to 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. Plus, about 40 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
But not all servers are so incompetent or evil that their actions could seriously threaten their clients. Danil Nevsky, the founder and CEO of the Indie Bartender Company, an organization that strives to inspire and support fearless and enthusiastic bartenders, told Bored Panda he hasn’t noticed a trend like the one in the now-viral thread. “Generally, the staff of today are much more aware of these things [than, for example, those who worked in the industry a decade or so ago],” Nevsky said.
“In Europe, you’re forced by law to have a page in the menu full of allergens and warnings regarding all items. Kitchen and bar staff have to go through the necessary on-the-job training to know how foods and drinks are prepared in order to make sure that every guideline is met,” the seasoned bartender added.
This is very reassuring, considering that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that the prevalence of food allergy in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
There is no single explanation for why these numbers are increasing, but science has some theories. A popular one is that improved hygiene is to blame, as children are not getting as many infections. Parasitic infections, in particular, are normally fought by the same mechanisms involved in tackling allergies.
Each year, 200,000 people in the US require emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food.
Sadly, there is no cure for food allergies, and avoiding triggers is the only way to prevent a reaction.