We offer specialist help in gluten poisoning claims. This is something close to our hearts as we have first-hand and family experience of coeliac Intolerance. We have written regularly about ways to be safer when eating out. But we recognise that even with the utmost care, and with the restaurant or food outlet meeting their responsibilities fully, there is no such thing as a 100% guarantee in the real world.
So what to make of the founder and CEO of the Leon fast food chain warning customers with severe allergies not to eat there as it cannot guarantee its food is completely free of allergies?
After the warning was published on the Leon website in January 2019 there was a storm of controversy with commenters labelling the chain as lazy, or accusing it of mixed messages as their food is labelled ‘free-from’ at the same time as they are stating they can’t guarantee this.
Feelings were further inflamed after it emerged that a customer was turned away from one branch of Leon’s, being told not to eat there if her son’s allergies are ‘life threatening’. Alex Baracaia, whose eight year old son Sidney is allergic to a number of foods, was incensed.
However, Leon have since made it clear that it is not their policy to turn away food allergy sufferers.
It’s not our place to advise or take a position on Leon’s policy but it does draw attention to the dilemmas of modern living. Where does responsibility begin and end? Is it the sufferer’s responsibility to take care to avoid any potential risk? Should the food vendor assume all the risk, when they cannot 100% ensure all risk has been removed?
Modern life is complex, and simple solutions can rarely be found to complex issues. It’s impossible to live entirely free from risk, but it is also incumbent upon those who supply food to the public to remove as much risk as is possible.
In the end, unless we want to stop the sale of all prepared foods to the public, it comes down to the individual’s decision. But it is best to ensure that you’re as well informed and as up to date as possible.