About Food Allergies in the Food Industry
My name is Alexa Wyszkowski. I am allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and legumes. I am also lactose intolerant. I do not eat fish, mangos and kiwi. I am also allergic to dust, mold, bees, dogs and cats. I am the owner of foodallergiesinthefoodindustry.com.
I have had my food allergies my whole life and I cannot imagine my life without them. Everyday involves carrying EpiPens, checking ingredients, bringing extra food, handing allergy cards to waiters and taking chances. I try to avoid my allergens, but there is always the chance of cross contact. With everything I eat there is always a chance of an allergic reaction.
Just like the other fifteen million people in America with food allergies, I have hope for a cure. As of right now, a cure for everyone is not available, so we have to live with our food allergies and communicate with those who do not have food allergies.
I believe there is a way to make the hospitality, restaurant, tourism, event and food industries a safer place so all people with and without food allergies can live without the fear of an allergic reaction. There are so many companies and businesses out there who have done a great job accommodating for people with food allergies and I thank them. There are still some companies and businesses that have not yet accommodated for people with food allergies. I have hope that someday every kitchen will be able accommodate for all people.
I am only one person and I cannot change the entire food industry. I cannot have a voice about it unless I fully understand what really happens within kitchens. As a person with food allergies I feel like I was told to stay away from food, to avoid it at all costs. So I have done the complete opposite in hopes of gaining knowledge, experience and understanding.
I have worked at a small bakery with nuts for almost a year now and this fall I begin my journey in college where I will be studying Restaurant Management. This blog will share my stories of what it is like to be a person studying and working in the food industry with food allergies. I hope to inspire those out there with food allergies who want to go into the food industry, to show that everyone really can follow their dreams.
It has been about a year and a half of Food Allergies in the Food Industry where I have been able to share my college, work, travel and life experiences. I now am I double major, Hospitality with a concentration on Restaurant and Culinary Management and Liberal Arts and Sciences with a concentration on the Humanities and Social Sciences. I am also working towards two certificate programs, one in Small Business Management and the other in Event and Restaurant Planning. After two years and two months working at the bakery, I left and I now have a new job. A lot has changed since I started this blog. Change is good.
With all these changes taking place, I realized I needed to change something else. I am opening up my blog to those with food allergy related experiences who would like to share their stories. By providing new and multiple perspectives I think we will all be able to learn more about not only what it is like to have food allergies, but what it is like to have loved ones with food allergies.
I have also realized that the food industry is way more than just restaurants and foodservice places. The food industry will never go away, it has an impact everyday and everywhere.
I am more than the girl who proved that she could do anything despite her food allergies.
I am the girl who is on a journey to find how to put her passions together and teach others how to do the same. Join me and take the risk.
I’m Sophie Schmults and I have severe food allergies. I’m anaphylactic to sesame and allergic to tree nuts. When I was 13 months old I had my first reaction to sesame and that’s how my parents found out about my allergies. Ever since then I’ve had to manage them in school, sports, social situations, and travel. It’s been extremely difficult but I’ve become a better person because of it. It’s made me more confident and a better advocate for myself in all situations.
Many people don’t understand the endless extra steps I have to take each day just to eat a snack or a meal. Many of these steps involve calling companies, reading labels, talking to waiters and chefs, and explaining that what I’m allergic to isn’t on the label. It’s really hard for some people to understand that it’s not just an intolerance, it’s life or death and that’s one of the main reasons why I think it’s really important to educate people on food allergies.
However, just because I have food allergies, it doesn’t mean I’m going to let them rule my life. As best as I can, I want to live my life just like everyone else. Having food allergies really just means that I have to be careful, but I’m not going to let them stop me from doing the things I love and living my life out in the best way possible
One of the best ways I can do this is through this blog. It lets me share my experiences and provide information and perspective for others. I am so thankful that I was able to become a part of this because it’s another way of letting me know that I’m doing my part to help the food allergy community.
I don’t want to be remembered as the girl with food allergies, I want to be remembered as the girl who looked past those challenges and became more. This is where I strive to go in life and being a part of this blog is just one more step towards that.