Labeling of allergens: the danger for allergy sufferers

Image: Illustration Nina Simon, photo Dieter Rüchel (2), ddp, Stefan Finger, imageBroker

Our author is allergic, certain foods are dangerous for him. Going to restaurants and shopping are therefore regularly running the gauntlet for him – because allergens are often not correctly labeled.

Et is a situation I never want to experience again. In 2010, at the Charité in Berlin, I suddenly notice how my throat constricts, my breathing whistles and I get a rash. I’m here to find out how my food allergies are affecting. The doctors are prepared for my reaction, they help me, and the attempt has no bad consequences for me. But since then, at the latest, I have known how dangerous certain foods can be for me.

But how bad allergies are does not seem to be known everywhere. Last summer in an Allgäu restaurant. Because the menu does not list any allergens, I have the allergy menu brought to me. It is in a yellowed plastic envelope, is slightly dusty and not labeled. There is only one date on it: 2016. I’m skeptical and, because I’m allergic to eggs, nuts and peanuts, I choose a simple salami pizza that, according to the menu, shouldn’t contain any of these allergens. When asked, the waiter also assures that the pizza is “clean”. But after a few minutes he comes back to our table and explains that recently all pizzas had eggs. He boredly accepts my advice to update the allergy card. He’s probably thinking: It’s not worth it, for the few allergy sufferers.



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