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Food Allergies and Eating Out: What are your Rights?

Food allergies are common in Australia, affecting about one in every twenty children and two in every hundred adults. While many children outgrow their food allergies, those that don’t face a higher risk of anaphylactic shock and other reactions.

Everyone should be able to enjoy a meal out. But for people with food allergies, it’s necessary to be prepared, and to know your rights.

Your Rights at Restaurants

If you’ve warned a restaurant of your allergy (or your friends, or your child’s etc) and that restaurant serves food that causes an allergic reaction, you might be able to sue for negligence.

You may also have a case if a restaurant fails to list a potential allergen in a meal on their menu and you or somebody else eats it. It could also fall under a breach of the Australian Consumer Law.


Table setup in restaurant | Shine Lawyers


Your Rights at Parties

The average person isn’t a hospitality professional and is unlikely to know the rules regarding allergens. So if you eat something you’re allergic to at a house party, you probably won’t be able to sue the host.

But it’s a situation with some grey areas and you should contact Shine Lawyers if you’re unsure.

Communication is useful from both sides. If you have a food allergy, you should let the host of the party know as soon as possible. If you’re the host and you’re planning to serve food with potential allergens, you should let any guests with allergies know as soon as possible.

Your Responsibilities

There are several steps that you can take to minimise the risk of having an allergic reaction.
  • Call the café or restaurant ahead of time and inform them of your allergy.
  • Let the staff know about your allergy even if it’s not your first visit. Remember that chefs and other staff members can change.
  • Always take life-saving medications like your EpiPen with you when you’re eating out.

Contact Us

If you’ve suffered hospitalisation or any other allergic reaction due to a restaurant’s negligence, get in touch. Working on a No Win No Fee basis, Shine Lawyers can help you make a personal injury claim ( in order to cover hospital bills, loss of income from time away from work and other expenses.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 18, 2018.

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