Food allergies can be life threatening, so I believe it is important to publish this letter from a concerned parent, sent to Lonestar restaurant in Cockburn about them selling buckets of peanuts that are a danger to allergic children.
Dear owner/manager Lonestar Cockburn,
I’m writing to ask that Lonestar does not include buckets of peanuts in your new Cockburn store as has been advertised on your facebook page
The times of Lonestar having peanuts as part of their appeal surely must be long gone, with the incidence of peanut related allergies, particularly in our kids, growing at an astronomical rate over the past 10-15 years.
Fact – 3% of children in Australia now have this allergy and the figure is growing.
Fact – peanut allergy is the most deadly of all food allergies and can cause death within minutes.
Fact – peanut allergy can be triggered not just be ingesting but by touching or inhaling even small traces of peanuts – even airborne traces.
Sure, other restaurants serve dishes that people are allergic too: be it peanuts, seafood, gluten, dairy etc etc… What is different here is that the deadliest of all food allergens will effectively contaminate every table, every square centimetre of floor and literally by the bucket load! It will also be trampled outside and fall off people’s clothes after they leave.
There is a public children’s playground directly outside your restaurant (metres away) that kids like to use (my kids want to go on it every time they visit Gateway). Have you considered that kids lucky enough not to have a peanut allergy will eat peanuts at your restaurant and then play on the equipment outside. What happens when a peanut allergy kid is playing at the same time or straight after? He/she runs the risk of anaphylactic shock and you may just see a death unfold right outside your front door.
You will find that as a young community, Cockburn has a very large proportion of families and given this fact, this decision is baffling from a business point of view as well as a social/health one. You are effectively reducing your potential market instantly and by much more than just the 3% of kids affected. Have you considered that family/social gatherings will be forced to go elsewhere if just one person in their group has a peanut allergy? Is this a sound business decision?
If you’re allergic just don’t come right? “Why wreck it for the rest of us?” is another common thing I’m hearing. I understand why people say this and sure, it’s a novelty but is not having a bucket of peanuts a deal breaker for coming to Lonestar? I’ll put it another way – Me and my family and many others like us simply cannot come to Lonestar if there are peanuts, would others not go because there wasn’t peanuts? That’s the question you need to ask yourselves as business operators.
For the record I have an almost 4yo who is severely allergic to peanuts. We had to rush him to emergency after he had his first reaction in 2012 when he was less than 18mo. He couldn’t breathe and the look on his face looking up at me and his mum in terror is etched forever in my mind. It’s something I would do anything to avoid seeing again.
We try our best to avoid peanuts but we are not obsessive, nor are we ‘helicopter parents’ I like to think of me and my wife as vigilant but not overprotective. I would say that most parents of peanut allergy kids are similar. Unfortunately, because we have the burden of protecting our kids from this life and death situation we can be labelled quickly and there is a stigma attached. It’s the price we pay through no fault of our own and any parent would do the same in our situation.
I hope some common sense prevails here and you reconsider your decision.
At the end of the day it’s up to you to ultimately decide if a child’s life is worth more than peanuts.