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What's our responsibility? - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Kuan, I agree and disagree with your statement that we are not bound by labelling laws. True we are not legally required to provide nutritional information or ingredients (or their amounts), but if you put that on your menu, voluntarilary, in many states you are required to be truefully to that information. Some states have very strict guidelines for labelling menu items "heart healthy" and other states will prosecute under "truth in advertising" laws. Unless you have a chemist and a nutrionalist on site, I would stay away from printing nutritional info on your menus.
post #32 of 54
You gotta good point Pete. I think we're bound by our conscience to be truthful in any case. Whether or not it's the law, we should try as hard as possible to adhere to what we say we do. I think "Heart Healthy" is a sort of trademark of the American Heart Association (AHA). I remember seeing a brochure a few years back about this. Must have found its way into the trash real quick. So anyway, it's my suspicion that if we want to put "Heart Healthy" on our menus, we need the approval of the AHA. Anyone care to confirm or deny this?

Kuan
post #33 of 54
I don't know if you need to have the approval of the AHA, but I know in Vermont (at least a few years ago) the state had certain guidelines that a restaurant had to follow if they wanted to use the term "heart healthy". Both sodium and fat had to be below a certain level, and you had to have the recipe reviewed by a licensed nutritionist or dietician (I don't remember which).
post #34 of 54
I have had a number of potential "nightmare customers" turn themselves into dream customers by showing up with a little business card, usually prepared for them by their allergist, which details which items are bad and which are OK. They give these cards t the server, who pass them along to me, and I can tell them in 30 seconds 2 or 4 items they can have with no problem. As a Chef, I love these things. Wish I could find a way to encourge more people to do that.

On the flip side, about an hour from here there is a large University that specializes in Transcendentalism - levitation, the whole deal. I do not begrudge them their faith, far from it. But when the Maharishi instructs them to cut the ENTIRE allium family from their diets (that's no onion, garlic, shallot, chive, scallion, leek, etc) so that they can levitate properly, and then they come to my Mediterranean restaurants and ask what there is that does not contain any of that.... Well, I have to bite pretty hard on my lower lip to keep from replying "Tiramisu."

Peace,
kmf
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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post #35 of 54
Love the card idea, it just makes good sense.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #36 of 54
my 2 cents:

I do believe that the onus lies with the customer, BUT I think that we are obligated to label or list out ingredients that are a surprise or different from the norm. Servers should know what is in a product -- if I ask and they say "no" because they can't see it and it shows up on my plate - I get frustrated. I also think that is why a restaurant should have consisitancy within its own recipes. Ie the chicken noodle soup I get there on Monday should have the same ingredients as when I order it on Friday.

I have allergic reactions to walnuts, swiss cheese and eggplant and have a major aversion to bell peppers. I know what "should" be safe but....

A couple of examples:

The fudgy choclate torte that had no mention of the walnuts I'm allergic to... fudgy chocolate walnut torte would be a much better description.

The garlic aioli made with roasted red peppers (who would have known?)

Oil & Vinegar ordered for a salad -- the oil was walnut!

Hummus that was a combo of hummus and babaganoush -- the eggplant that was so unexpected ...

Pecan Brownies - filled with walnuts -- the server should have told us of the change...

With alcohol in a recipe, I make sure I always repeat the ingredient when serving...Amaretto peaches with... or X with a white wine beurre blanc... Is it redundant, yes, but I'd prefer that to being the one that creates a problem with a recovering addict.

In the meantime I protect myself and ask if the macadamia crusted bass with viniagrette contains walnut oil (yes) and if the tuna tartare with aioli is the red pepper one or not (depends on the whim of the day).
Sweet Dreams!!
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Sweet Dreams!!
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post #37 of 54
Remember, healthy is better then butter!!!!
"Every kiss is a blessing"! Or is it "Every blessing is a kiss"
Does anyone know what time it is.
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"Every kiss is a blessing"! Or is it "Every blessing is a kiss"
Does anyone know what time it is.
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post #38 of 54
Nothing is better than butter.:lips:

Peace,
kmf
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
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post #39 of 54
Well, it sounds good! Lol:rolleyes:
"Every kiss is a blessing"! Or is it "Every blessing is a kiss"
Does anyone know what time it is.
Reply
"Every kiss is a blessing"! Or is it "Every blessing is a kiss"
Does anyone know what time it is.
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post #40 of 54

Just some facts + My story

Just be aware that the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act which took effect 1/1/06 was enacted to label/describe to food preparers the contents of packaged foods. These labels list all of the eight major foods or food groups--milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans-- account for 90 percent of food allergies;
My story is about my milk allergic/asthmatic 11 year old daughter who nearly died from being served chicken soup containing milk. The server was directly and repeatedly told of the allergy and as well the manager, just prior to being served the soup...it's contents were clearly listed on a can of base CONTAINS MILK (refer to labeling Act). It is all that was ordered for her due to the worry asociated with"eating out"
What I would like to say is this; 2% of adults and 5% of infants have food allergies someone should target this sensitivity and provide an eating place that is "allergy aware". When these customers arrive have a trained member of the staff ask them details of their allergy and go from there. Be careful of cross contamination and stay recipe consistent, this is very marketable. Of course it would be a positive life changing event for those parents of allergic children and allergic adults as well. This practice can be well modeled after the Disney folks who are very allergy aware and always send a chef to the table to discuss the allergies, what restraunts are busier then these? Thanks for your time!
post #41 of 54
I have seen restaurants that have adopted small logos next to the menu listings- ie, vegetarian item, may contain nuts, low-fat/heart healthy, etc... Perhaps that is an option for restaurants who wish to better service the needs of their customers without turning the menu (or waitstaff) into an ingredient label. But I feel it IS our responsibility to be sure that when we label a dish "vegetarian" that it actually IS- no chicken broth, gelatin (as in many sour creams), lard, etc. (My sister has been vegetarian for many years and I have learned to read labels when I prepare holiday family meals). But I do agree that it is the consumer's responsibility to notify or ask staff if there is something they need to avoid. We don't ask a grocery store to set up special "vegan isles" - if a person has particular food choices or allergies, they already know how to make the proper choices when shopping..... dining should be the same. We serve the general public and that is who should be primarily accomodated.
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #42 of 54
Lynne- Now THIS would be more a case of not knowing the menu item- Baba Ghanoush= eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, tahini- that would be a situation to ask what an unfamiliar term/item IS. Rather than the restaurant pulling a fast one. (now, the walnuts in the pecan brownie.... I'd have to complain!)
Bon Vive' !
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Bon Vive' !
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post #43 of 54
I know I'm just beating a dead horse issue, but it comes down to personal responsibility.

We, as operators of food service business are there to make money. In order to do so we choose our route of the venture. Normally that means we sell to the largest number possible. That means, we sell to the 'average Joe.'

Those with allergies, health concerns of other sorts (fats, carbs, cholesterol, etc.), should be responsible for themselves.

My 2¢ and now I'll get off the soapbox.

Ciao,
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
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Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
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post #44 of 54
Well, SteveA, I'm afraid that your view of "personal responsibility" leads to a lack of you taking responsibility personally.

If someone with a food allergy comes into your restaurant and informs the staff of the allergy and is, nonetheless, served food than includes the allergan, your restaurant will be morally and financially responsible. (So much for just being there "to make money.")

Selling food to real live people carries with it a whole lot of responsiblity, which we all need to take personally.
post #45 of 54

Related

Hi guys not completely related but worth a read.

http://www.chefsworld.net/chefs_foru...=1&FTID=f1o%3D

Check out the Reply !

www.chefsworld.net
post #46 of 54

get a helmet

I personally think that a restaurant has a responsibility to inform (on menu) common allergies. It is in no way [possible to address all possible allergies. Having any condition is a responsibility in itself. I am in recovery from drugs and alcohol. I can't expect a restaurant to address this on their menu. If that were the case ten they would have to address the eating disoders as well. "The items on this menu contain FOOD, if you have any allergies or addictions to FOOD, then we will not be able to cater to your needs." I can see it now, now that I've said this, there will be some kind of lawsuit like this. haha he put FOOD in my meal and I had a relapse.
Society is ridden with silly "conditions" which sometimes effect the ones that really have issues. From a liability standpoint I go above and beyond what is required to inform. I feel an obligation as a business owner. My product is quality and I want to make sure that I am allowed to continue to serve it. I don't wanna get sued by someone looking to make a quick buck. It's almost happened before.
" Never fry bacon naked!"

-Powers
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" Never fry bacon naked!"

-Powers
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post #47 of 54
I have celiac disease, an immune condition in which I can't have wheat or gluten....and eating out of course is a nightmare. (How ironic that I write about food you say?) Yet I do believe it's *my* responsibility to ask and be informed...however....responsibility is a big word.

I of course always ask about specific products, but is the server or cook 'responsible' because they didn't think about the flour that was used in that roux? The gluten in the anti-caking agents for the spices they used? Etc. etc. Of course not.

But I have two strong comments on this issue. First, to the original posters question. I don't think you have any obligation whatsoever, but keep this example in mind....1 in 250 people have celiac disease. Lately there have been a few restaraunts offering menus which list their gluten-free items, and as a community we seek out and frequent those restaraunts like crazy people. So I would think it's a very good differentiator and business decision these days to pro-actively facilitate certain audiences. You'll never meet more loyal customers.

Lastly, my general comment is that many folks in the service industry despise (many times rightfully) that pain in the *** customer who has all sorts of crazy requests and questions. The problem is that it is sometimes difficult to tell those people who are just difficult, picky, latest fad diet arseholes from those who are asking for very serious reasons (yes, I did just minimize an entire group of people. I don't like you, sorry.)....and on more than one occasion I've had kitchen staff disregard some request I've made thinking that it was something I would never notice but leaves me ill for the next several days. So just be careful out there.


[p.s. - To the earlier poster who stated " most people dining out these days are doing it for reasons of necessity, not as a treat." I would say that you view the world through very different lenses than most of us. While I don't know that I would put it into a category of always being a 'treat', I vehemently disagree with the notion that it's *ever* a necessity...particularly for someone with allergies, etc. Just because it's difficult to be a social animal in this society without eating out doesn't mean that its required. It's an 'entitled' point of view that by proxy implies that a restaraunt must therefore "meet your needs". Restaraunts are businesses, don't like that business? Don't go there. But please don't try and say "I *have* to eat there, and you therefore *have* to accomodate me."]
post #48 of 54
There is no need for a menu to be full of warning labels and nutritional information, however, the restaurant staff should be prepared to accurately provide that information should a guest ask about it. As was mentioned earlier, it's easy enough to inform the staff what goes into the food, and having the waitstaff carry a small notebook with the information shouldn't be a hardship.

That said, I've seen many menus on which there are little symbols next to each item indicating whether a meal was low calorie, diabetic-friendly, vegetarian, etc. All that needs to be done is to alert the customer, in any of several ways, that the staff is willing and able to accurately answer any questions the guest may have about the food. The restaurant needn't make a big deal out of this, but it should be clear and obvious to the customers that this option exists.

And yes, a restaurant should "try to eliminate as many harmful items as possible" from their food, within, I'd say, some clear definition of what those items may be.

Ultimately, it's the customer's decision to ask about the things that are important to him or her.

Shel
post #49 of 54
Many of the supermarkets in my area have a Kosher section, a section for oriental food, a section for Mexican and Latin food, their meat cases contain a section for Kosher meat, there are sections for organic foods ... why not something for Vegans or vegetarians if the customer base is there?

Shel
post #50 of 54
My sister is a vegan as well as all of her friends, and from my experience, they cook more than they eat out. Seems like thai is the food of choice for vegans.
post #51 of 54
Here in Berkeley, and in the San Francisco area in general as well as in certain other parts of the state, there are any number of vegan, vegetarian, and organic foods restaurants. If the demand is there, someone will supply it.

Shel
post #52 of 54
While common allergens should be addressed, and I feel they usually are, if a guest knows they are allergic to something uncommon, they should inquire for the benefit of their health.

Reading the menu can solve alot of problems. If I were deathly allergic to something, I would read the description at least 3x and then verify with the server to make sure XXX is not included in my dish. Alot of people will quickly browse the menu, order, and then send back the dish because they didnt know that XXX is in the dish, even though it is stated on the menu.
post #53 of 54
Ideally, I would love it if customers with severe allergies could let us know a day in advance.
I do pastry and have had several occasions where I am asked by the server about a gluten-free (dairy-free, etc.) dessert right as the customer is waiting to order. At that point I can usually only offer sorbets or fruit, but on the ocassions when I have received advance notice, I have been able to make something special.
When I first got gluten-free requests, I would worry about the not-so-obvious sources of gluten -is baking powder and cornstarch OK? What about glucose (yes, it is wheat based, but I have heard the gluten is removed in processing). Oats should be safe, but then I was told they are often processed on the same equipment as flour. It is so confusing if I don't live with it everyday. Giving the restaurant notice would help the customer get better service.
post #54 of 54

What great timing...

So, I'm listening to a new podcast at the moment from the "Culinary Podcast Network" and it happens to be related to this discussion and particularly my earlier post regarding Celiac disease. I'm still listening to it so I can't yet say how good it is.

If you have any interest you can take a quick listen to this podcast. The chef who made the gluten-free meal starts his interview around 28 minutes into the podcast if you want to skip forward.

You can find the link to listen to it here, as well as links to the celiac network: http://www.gildedfork.com/culinarypodcastnetwork/

"Jennifer and Chef Mark attended a special gluten-free dinner at Chef Aaron Sanchez's Centrico Restaurant, hosted by Red Bridge Beer, a benefit for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. We spoke with Chef Sanchez, Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View, Brewmaster Kristi Zantop and Vanessa Maltin of the NFCA, and learned about this auto-immune condition."
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