With the recent controversy surrounding Peter Rabbit, many of those who may never have discussed food allergies before are starting to discuss the topic. This is great in highlighting food allergies and their impact, but unfortunate that something negative is the sole reason why.
For those that haven’t read the news recently may not know why the children’s film is gaining so much attention, and it seems to be for all the wrong reasons. A particular scene shows Peter and his forest friends attacking their archnemesis, Mr. McGregor, by throwing blackberries at him. Mr McGregor then starts choking and has to use his epinephrine injector.
In fact, when many people discuss food allergies, their knowledge stops at epipens being an allergy sufferer’s lifesaver.
While many may have watched Peter Rabbit without thinking anything unusual of the scene described above, those with food allergies are all too familiar with allergy bullying. And is depicting this in a children’s film really a sensible thing to do? Well of course not.
Instead, we must take the time to educate.
Understanding food allergies
If from a young age we were educated on different dietary needs, nutrition and the lifestyle choices of others we would have a greater understanding of the effects food can have.
Living with a food allergy, or an allergy of any type can be restricting and often stressful. It doesn’t always just impact the person with the allergy itself. While it may be tricky to dine out with friends when living with a food allergy or intolerance, the real responsibility lies with the restaurants themselves. These restaurants need to take greater care in understanding the seriousness of food allergies.
This goes beyond highlighting allergen information on menus, and includes serious precautions to avoid cross contamination.
If we aren’t starting by educating young, how will we ever overcome the stigma surrounding food allergies?