I visited your café today with my two young children, as I have done many times before as it is a favourite of ours. My three-year-old suffers from a peanut allergy, the potential effects of which are unpredictable, so I was disappointed to see your new menu and note that peanut butter sandwiches are now an option on the children’s section.
Whilst I understand that some people in the world do love a peanut butter sandwich (as I once did myself!), I do feel I should explain my concerns to you, although I hope you have carried out your own risk assessment.
Allergies in general are on the increase, and 8-10% of children in the UK now have a proven allergy (very different to an intolerance). The UK is one of the top three countries in the world for incidence of allergies in children. Peanut is a particularly worrying allergen because it is the food that most commonly causes the most serious type of allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
For people with this type of allergy, there are obviously concerns with eating out, but we carry out our own risk assessment to consider the risk of cross-contamination. With peanut butter in a café with a children’s playhouse and shared toys, for me, this risk would be too high due to the risk of toddlers’ sticky peanut-butter fingers all over the toys and surfaces. This is irrespective of your hygiene procedures and ways in which you mitigate the risk of cross-contamination within your kitchen.
I know that you cannot reconsider your entire menu based on one child, and I would not expect this. However, I would urge you to reconsider the risk, factoring in advice from Allergy UK and The Anaphylaxis Campaign, as I consider this item on the menu to be high risk.
I hope this will give you some food for thought (no pun intended!). I am just one person, but I cannot risk bringing my child to the café again considering the potential risk of other children covered in a substance that could cause him serious harm and even stop him breathing. A child who carries Epipens is just one example; many children may not yet be known to have an allergy and I do not need to tell you what happens if someone suffers anaphylaxis without an Epipen available.
Nut Allergy Mum