allergies Feed

Allergen Labeling Example from Listen Bar, NYC

Listen Bar founder Lorelei Bandrovschi attended Camper English of CocktailSafe's seminar at Tales of the Cocktail on Allergies and Cocktail Menu Labeling, but as it turns out, she already has the most advanced allergen labeled menu we've seen. 

Listen Bar is an alcohol-free pop-up that looks about to complete fundraising to open a permanent location. 

Below is the allergen labeling side of the cocktail menu. For the front of the menu, with drinks designed by some rockstar bartenders you probably already know, see this page

Well done, Listen Bar.  Check the bar's Facebook page or join the mailing list from the website for updates. 


Allergen Labelling in the New York Times

The New York Times has an informative story on allergy labelling. Read it here


  • "Companies must place special warnings on prepackaged foods if they were made using certain allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, wheat, soybeans and tree nuts."
  • "Manufacturers do not have to print a “contains sesame” message. It may even be hidden under “natural flavors” or “spices” on the ingredients label."
  • "the federal government does not require manufacturers to include labeling for possible cross contact of allergens."
  • "foods produced in a bakery or deli and “placed in a wrapper or container in response to a consumer’s order” are not covered under federal labeling requirements."


The difference between food allergies and sensitivities

Popular Science has a story about food allergies, and how people often confuse allergies with sensitivities. 

People with allergies accidentally produce IgE molecules that identify harmless proteins like those in peanuts, shellfish, or milk as being dangerous. That means upon ingestion, IgE are like the alarm that kicks up a massive immune response, recruiting histamines and other immune cells that kill the invader. It's this overreaction that causes your throat to close or your blood pressure to drop precipitously, or any of the other allergic symptoms that transcend one bodily organ and extend into the respiratory system or perhaps the skin or cardiovascular system. This response can absolutely be life threatening.

Not everyone with a true food allergy will have the same symptoms, but they will all be governed by IgE. Conversely, people with food intolerances, like lactose intolerance, only get digestive symptoms.




Chefs with Food Allergies

Here's a story on Eater: How Chefs With Food Allergies Make It Work.


The biggest takeaway from her allergy has been discovering just how poorly the hospitality industry still handles them. She’s had incidents where she’s been assured by waitstaff that her meal didn’t have nuts, only to find out that an ingredient like orgeat (an almond-based syrup) had been used in her cocktail. But she says people are more understanding than they used to be.

The most common food allergies:

the eight most common food allergens: Milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean account for 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States.

About the realities of living and working with allergies:

Back when she still worked in kitchens, Selengut says that “other than peanut or something, we didn’t really believe in allergies.” Unfortunately, change has not been uniform in the industry, and while kitchens are better at taking allergies seriously, she still regularly finds garlic in her food when she goes out to eat. The only way to make things better, Selengut says, is to have “a serious overhaul of quality control and management from the chef de cuisine to the busser.”


It would be interesting to hear from some bartenders with food allergies. 


Allergies in the News: UK Restaurant Owners Convicted of Manslaughter in Nut Allergy Death

AllergyNot only was the restaurant owner convicted of manslaughter due to failure to avoid nut allergies in their food, so was the delivery person. Read about the case in the New York Times

This is something that I've started to learn about- restaurants in the UK and EU must have an allergen menu available on request: 

Packaged foods in supermarkets in Britain and the European Union already carry information about allergens, but, for freshly prepared foods, takeout establishments and restaurants are required only to have the list of allergens available on request.

As far as I know, that also applies to cocktail ingredients in bars. 

I covered some allergy labelling information in this story for SevenFifty Daily a while back, including a link to what the allergens are that must be labelled in the UK.