Food services need to be conscientious of dietary restrictions


Courtesy of McDonald's

Lies behind the fries– In 2001, McDonald’s was targeted for not being honest about the animal products in their french fries. Companies need to be honest about the ingredients in their food in order to improve dining experience for customers with dietary restrictions.

Sydney Bigelow, Opinions Editor

For people who suffer from food allergies or choose to observe religious dietary practices, their food and diets prevent them from eating at restaurants or social gatherings where they can not control their meal preparation. To improve the experience for both customers and companies, restaurants and food services should improve their communication regarding ingredients and meals in order to consider those with dietary restrictions. 

One in every 100 people worldwide suffer from Celiac’s Disease, the Celiac Disease Foundation reports. Additionally, about three million Americans are severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, the National Library of Medicine states. Many people suffer from allergies to milk, soy, and other products, a condition that affects their experience with food. 

People with allergies are responsible for finding meals without the allergen and informing servers of their allergy. However, if workers are careless or do not consider the severity of the issue, they may miscommunicate the order, risking that person’s life. Many people suffering from severe allergies avoid eating out, and the solution to this is better communication between customers and companies. 

 With various different religions practiced in the United States, many people observe religious dietary laws. People practicing Hinduism may avoid beef or other animal products, and Jewish people who keep Kosher avoid mixing meat and dairy, along with avoiding pork products and shellfish. In order to monitor the food that they are consuming, it is important to be made aware of the ingredients when being served in public. 

According to ABC News, in 2001, two Hindu vegetarians sued the McDonald’s franchise for serving french fries made with animal products. In 1990, McDonald’s told customers that the fries were made with only vegetable oil, however it was later released that there were small amounts of beef in the food. Although it may not be reasonable to ask McDonald’s to alter their recipes to accommodate customers, there is no reason that the company should be spreading false information. 

Even if it is just a personal diet preference, customers should be able to express these concerns with restaurants or food services. Many people who have dietary restrictions or allergies avoid going to restaurants, which is a lose-lose situation for both customers and food providers. If restaurants are willing to make changes to accommodate dietary restrictions, they can expect people with food restrictions to turn to them when they are in need of a night out, improving the experience for customers and the business for restaurants. 

Chefs and food industry employees already work hard to accommodate customers. These demands for better communications in the food industry are not meant to inconvenience workers, simply to increase transparency between restaurants and customers. Being open and honest about the products that are being served improves the experience for customers, and, in the long run, restaurant workers.