The View From Here – The trend of bogus food allergy claims has adverse effect of those with real concerns

Tom Henihan

People who demand undivided attention, whose feigned or imagined concerns must be front and centre at all times, are an increasingly commonplace annoyance.

In order to gain a platform for attention there are fakers that pretend to have issues with personal identity, ethnicity, health, and so on.

However, apart from being a constant annoyance these people diminish the importance and deflect attention away from people with legitimate grievances and concerns.

A perfect example of how these “special cases” compromising those with real issues is the overwhelming number of people claiming to have food allergies.

Those with genuine food allergies are finding it increasingly difficult to have their concerns taken seriously when dining out in restaurants.

Due to the increasing number of people pretending to have food allergies, it is understandable that waiters tend to dismiss legitimate requests as just another crank call for attention.

As a result, people with real health concerns are increasingly wary about dining out and many claim that the risks are so great they simply don’t eat in restaurants anymore.

On the other hand, people with real food allergies must be realistic.

If life imposes limitations on us such as suffering from food allergies, when we test the confines of those limitations, we cannot place the onus on others if something goes wrong.

People with serious food allergies must take responsibility for their own wellbeing and not shift that responsibility onto a waiter or chef just because they have informed those employees of the situation.

When eating in restaurants, we should expect reasonable accommodation but if a food allergy can trigger an adverse reaction, placing responsibility on a waiter or other restaurant staff is overreaching.

Beyond a reasonable accommodation, restaurants should not be obliged to administer to the health concerns of their clientele just because those concerns relate to food.

Restaurants are very busy, frenetic environments where the regular, everyday logistics of getting the job done are already a considerable challenge.

Food allergies are a serious concern and when someone asks for consideration, they deserve to be taken seriously.

With a growing number of special cases pretending to have the condition, it is understandable that restaurant employees have an adverse reaction of their own when yet another patron claims to be deathly sensitive to something on the menu.

If restaurants had to deal only with legitimate food allergies, they may be willing and capable of handling those requests.

But if there is a steady demand for special food preparation and a need for hyper-vigilance as to the ingredients being used, the situation is obviously untenable.

A dislike or an aversion to something is not an allergy.

Experiencing heartburn, headache or upset stomach from something you eat does not qualify as an allergic reaction.

The phrase commonly used to describe this state of affairs used to be, “I find that dish disagrees with me.”

An allergic reaction is a serious, adverse response of the immune system, which sometimes results in an anaphylaxis reaction that is typically virulent and potentially fatal.

As with any serious health issue, it exacerbates an already stressful situation if a person can’t have their concerns taken seriously because others are pretending to have issues for no other reason than to be special and command attention.

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