(CNN) – Millions of Americans suffer from food allergies. So they have to be careful when they eat-out at restaurants. A new Center for Disease Control and Prevention study said that restaurants are working to keep allergy-sufferers safe, but there’s more left to do.
About 15 million Americans have allergic reactions to food. They result in about 30,000 emergency room visits, and an average of 150-200 deaths every year.
A study from the CDC’s “Environmental Health Services” division found that, while restaurants are working to prevent food-based allergic reactions, they could do more.
The survey found that most restaurants do have ingredient lists or recipes available for most or all of their food items. The study also found that less than half of interviewed restaurant staff received training on food allergies, and those that did often didn’t learn what to do if a customer has a reaction.
Researchers also found that most restaurants did not have dedicated areas or equipment for preparing and cooking allergen-free food. The study recommends that restaurants set aside these dedicated areas, and improve training for staff regarding food allergies.
If you have food allergies, do your research. Make sure any restaurant you patronize will accommodate allergy-related requests. Be sure to inform the staff before you order.
Ask questions about preparation and be prepared with allergy medication, just in case.