When I recently posted about what restaurants did wrong in 2013, folks in the allergy/celiac community flooded my inbox with their own horror stories.
Did I hear from anyone in the food industry? Nope. Not a peep.
However, Dine Aware, a company that trains and certifies restaurants in understanding and addressing special dietary needs, sent me their new video. Thrilled to see a company making a difference for those of us with food allergies, intolerances, celiac disease and other eating issues, I tweeted this last Saturday evening:
Within minutes I got an unexpected response from an angry dude in the UK.
Tell me that FAI doesn’t stand for Food Allergy Intolerance . . . not to get on my high horse but shit like that is the reason people don’t take allergies seriously.
Huh? It took me a while to figure out what Angry Dude was so worked up about. (Words of wisdom: Do not debate on Twitter when you are cooking dinner and late for a hockey game.)
Apparently, Angry Dude doesn’t like Dine Aware’s use of the term FAI.
Referring to allergies and intolerances as one and the same makes me angry, which I assume fai stands 4 . . . I think making up dodgy acronyms for anything just sounds a bit twee/lame . . . what’s going to get a sterner message across to the food/service industry? . . . “You can kill me” or “you might make me feel rough for 3 or 4 days”?
Yikes! According to Angry Dude, we have to tell restaurants we will die to get them to leave off the cheese or the breadcrumbs or the __________ (fill in your allergy or intolerance here).
Though Angry Dude said he has food intolerances himself, I got the impression he didn’t think intolerances were on an even playing field as life-threatening allergies. I’ve run into people like him before. And not to get on my high horse, but . . . even though my allergies and my kids’ intolerances won’t kill us, we deserve to eat in restaurants and in campus cafeterias without getting sick! My oldest son’s intolerance to dairy won’t kill him, but a reaction will make him horribly sick and he’ll probably miss a day of work. Eating a smidgen of soy will cause my esophagus to painfully constrict, making me feel like I’m choking. A couple croutons in a salad won’t kill my youngest son or me, but gluten will wreak havoc on our bodies and can cause serious consequences, possibly death, in the longterm.
I told Angry Dude as much.
He held his ground. The term FAI watered down the message to restaurants and would be sneered at, he claimed.
Giving myself a few days to calm down, I re-watched the video this morning. Three woman–a young professional whose social life is impacted because she can’t eat out, one who lost a daughter to anaphylaxis, another who feels anxious to eat in restaurants–speak eloquently and clearly. Those of us with dietary restrictions worry when we eat out; a Dine Aware “seal of approval” would give us the confidence to frequent restaurants. Good for the food industry, good for the consumer.
The acronym FAI doesn’t make the message less effective. I hold my ground, Angry Dude.
Angry Dude Fires Back About Food Allergy/Intolerance Term originally appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.