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Friday, February 01, 2008

Restaurants Get "How-To" Food Allergy Manual

Back when I first discovered I had lactose intolerance, restaurants became a nightmare. Remember that this was before lactase pills existed, and also before I really understood how much lactose was in various foods. I treated lactose-containing dairy products the way people with dairy allergies today treat them: I avoided them entirely.

Since nobody who worked in a restaurant had ever heard of lactose intolerance or dairy allergies back them, the idea that someone might ask if milk or butter or cheese might be in a dish threw them entirely. Bread? You want to know if there's milk in the bread? How many kinds of weirdo are you?

Today life's much easier. Everybody's heard of lactose intolerance and dairy allergies - and those pesky vegans - but it's still almost impossible to find out if there's dairy in the bread. (Uh, it comes in frozen from headquarters and we're not allowed to ask for the secret recipe.)

What restaurants need is a simple, basic, easy-to-understand set of instructions for What To Do About Allergy Ingredients. Maybe in booklet form. Call it a manual.

Apparently, the AQAA, the Quebec Food Allergy Association (isn't that QFAA?; no, you think Quebeckers would use English initials instead of French?), has come up with exactly that.

The Quebec Food Allergy Association introduces: The "Food Allergy Management Manual for Restaurants and Food Services"!

MONTREAL, Feb. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - It is with pride that Lyne Gosselin, co-Chair of the Board of the AQAA, invites members of the media to the official launch of the "Food Allergy Management Manual for Restaurants and Food Services", to be held during a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m., Monday, February 4 in Room 8 (exhibition area) of Montreal's Place Bonaventure. Finally, a manual that covers every aspect of this issue and provides concrete, practical tools for the management of food allergies by restaurants and food services.

This event will be attended by Chantal de Montigny, dietician/nutritionist and author of the manual; Michelle-Jamali Paquette, Political Consultant of the Minister Philippe Couillard; Joanne Twigg, Regional Director, Food Directorate, Bureau of the Minister Laurent Lessard; Paul-Guy Duhamel, General Manager of the AQAA; Samuel Benrejeb Godefroy, Ph.D., Director, Bureau of Chemical Safety, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada; Richard Mainville, General Manager of the HRSA, as well as the Executive Chef of the Fairmont Montebello, Serge Jost, and Pierre Moreau, Vice-President, Sales and Restaurants at RĂ´tisseries
St-Hubert, who will share their experience with regards to the application of the 2004 edition.

Let's hope that this version of the manual turns out to be such a good idea that restaurant associations everywhere decide to copy their example.

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