Advice to support teenagers and young adults manage their food allergy:
Living with a food allergy can affect people in different ways. Having a food allergy can pose extra challenges to daily tasks and have unexpected impacts on new experiences.
For teenagers and young adults with a food allergy, navigating the new experiences that come with these stages of life can bring about extra risks.
Research shows that children and young people are at a higher risk of experiencing food allergy reactions. And while many are confident about managing their food allergy in general, they are less likely to tell a café or restaurant about their allergy, particularly if they have eaten a meal from the same place before.
It’s because of this that our campaign for Allergy aims to encourage young people to always speak to the restaurant about their food allergies, even if it’s a meal they’ve had before. Never assume a meal will be safe, as ingredients can change.
This is the latest campaign in our commitment to making the UK the best place in the world to be a consumer with a food hypersensitivity. This advice will help you to think about the risks of different situations and manage your food allergy effectively.
Living with a food allergy:
For many, living away from home, can be the first time that you take full responsibility for managing a food allergy.
Growing up, parents or guardians may have been responsible for checking labels on food packaging for allergens. You will need to get used to checking all food labels and understand ingredients labelling. It is required by law that the main 14 allergens are highlighted on a food label.
Don’t assume that a food will be safe to eat without checking. Some food and drink, including spirits, sauces and ready-made meals may contain allergens. Ingredients can change from the last time you had it.
Communicating your food allergy:
Living with a food allergy you may find that you are asked a lot of questions and that you have to ask about different ingredients. Try not to feel uncomfortable asking these questions as they are important to your safety. Ask direct questions to make sure people understand the severity for you and that you get accurate information.
Communicating with partners and friends is also important, so that they know whether to avoid certain food types. This will make them better understand how they can help you manage your food allergy.
Eating out and ordering a takeaway with a food allergy:
It is important to speak to the restaurant every time when you eat out, order a takeaway or get food delivered. Speak up for allergies and don’t assume that a meal is safe because you have had it before.
This is because the recipe, ingredients, chef or kitchen staff may have changed. Often it is not clear, unless you ask, which allergens are in meals and what quantity they are in.
Be clear about your food allergy or intolerance to the server. It can help to give examples of the foods that can cause a reaction.
When ordering for several people, make sure the restaurant will label the allergy-safe meal and container. It is required by law for the restaurant to provide this information when the food is delivered, but confirming directly with the restaurant will help to make sure they understand your food allergy.
If you don’t feel that the person you’re ordering from fully understands your needs, ask to speak to someone else. If you’re not confident they understand your allergy, consider ordering from elsewhere.
Top tips for ordering an allergy-safe takeaway:
For more information, please Chat with us Ask The Expert.
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