Contemplating the Fatal Peanut

Adam Platt, whose son has a life-threatening peanut allergy, tackles Chef Lenny Russo’s skeptical thoughts on the topic of restaurants’ responsibilities to know and disclose exactly what they serve. “We take full responsibility for our son’s allergy, but we live in terror of the day a restaurant misleads us about what’s in its food due to ignorance or incompetence,” writes Platt. “That’s not a responsibility you can throw back on the customer.”

One Comment

  1. sd

    I disagree with Platt.

    It would be horrible to have a severe peanut allergy — or wheat allergy or milk allergy or shellfish allergy or any other severe allergy. But anyone having such an allergy ultimately bears the responsibility for avoiding threatening foods and situations — not food vendors or even party hosts.

    You only need to look at recent recalls for peanut paste and ground beef to see how diffuse a food ingredient can be in our commercial food supply. In addition, even if a particular food is certifiably free of the allergen, it could have been prepared with utensils which have contacted the allergen in the process of making another dish.

    Education and awareness on the part of food preparers and servers certainly can HELP. Perhaps in a quick serve restaurant, where the food always comes from the same someplace else and there are reproducible rules for preparation, there could be greater success. But I would not count upon that level of competency in that kind of life-or-death situation.

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