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Old 05-06-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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Restaurant-Must they tell me the ingredients ?

Does anyone know if there is a US law (individual state law?) that requires a restaurant to tell me what ingredients are in the food that they are serving me?

My daughter had a tuna sald sub today from a popular (newer) sub chain. They claim it's made with a "zesty tuna sauce"....She got sick. It was all she ate.
I called the store and nicely asked what the ingredients were in this tuna salad as she was having some type of reaction. The guy on the other end refused to tell me. Said it was a "secret" recipe. I told him I wasn't asking for the recipe, I was asking for the ingredients. I don't care HOW they make it. He still refused.

Can anyone give me some direction?


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Old 05-06-2007, 08:17 PM   #2
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Regardless of the "recipe," it sounds as though your daughter has a case of food poisioning. First, you should report the incident to the health department in your area. Secondly, I am not aware of any law that dictates that the ingredients should be disclosed. My rcommendation would be to contact the manager, if you haven't already, of the restaurant and tell him what happened. When you called the store, you probably spoke to whomever answered the phone. If you don't get any satisfaction, keep asking "Who's your supervisor?" until you get results. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

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Old 05-06-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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Could be a food allergy. I would persue the ingredients list for the sandwich, so that you can help your daughter better when she goes to the doctor if need be. Kids can get allergies at any age, so I'm not sure if your's has suddenly become allergic to tuna? Or the dressing? Are you sure your daughter ate nothing else beside that? As far as I know, most people do not get sick the same day from food. Michael in FTW could chime in maybe. I would think it would take at least one day to feel the effects of food contamination.
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Old 05-06-2007, 08:36 PM   #4
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It sounds like a case of food poisoning, not a severe allergic reaction - all though you didn't mention her symptoms. If it had been an allergic reaction you would have been on your way to the hospital ER instead of having the time to call up the sub shop asking for ingredients.

Food poisoning doesn't always take a lot of time ... you can become ill in 30 minutes or so. Children can exhibit symptoms in much less time than an adult with a healthy immune system.

I would call your local health department first thing in the morning and report it ... they can advise you more about the food laws in your community and what you should do as a follow-up.

I'va laso learned that when calling up a restaurant where you have gotten sick - ALWAYS ask to speak to the manager, and explain the situation to them. They are more likely to be able to help you than some other employee who just happened to answer the phone.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 05-06-2007, 09:32 PM   #5
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Yes, food poisoning can happen fairly soon after eating something tainted - I had it in probably a bit under 30 minutes one time - more in the realm of like 20 minutes.

I would be fuming right now! Everybody gave you good advice. Let us know what happens.

I hope your daughter feels better soon!

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Old 05-07-2007, 06:51 PM   #6
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What you can do is get them to tell you if it doesn't contain something, so you can check for nuts, or gluten, or dairy products.

If your daughter is diagnosed with some sort of allergy, it is possible that the health department can get an ingredient list from the reasturant.
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:08 AM   #7
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Regarding timing of food poisoning I go by the rule of thumb that if your vomiting its a reaction to get it up and out ASAP and food can hit the stomach 20/30 minutes after eatng. Past that though the quickest way is down and that can take longer.

I hope your daughter is alright now and that you find out what caused the reaction.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:47 PM   #8
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Zesty mayo is just horsey sauce.

The overwhelming majority of "food poisoning" is cross contamination from poor hand washing skills after using the bathroom, both on the part of service employees and customers. I work in a restaurant and perhaps one in a hundred customers will go to the washroom before eating. Food can make you sick but usually it's the poopy things not getting washed off.

I know we always want to blame the local restaurant's food but shigellosis, the toxic condition produced in the intestines by ecoli bacteria(the most common form of legit food poisoning) takes 12-24 hours to manifest symptoms. An active imagination can produce symptoms immediatly. Were there lots of people reported in the news getting sick from the restaurant in question? That's a good indication of it coming from the restaurant. I'd still guess it's people, though, either an employee or your daughter not washing their hands.

Quick tip; when washing your hands be sure to turn off the water with a paper towel and open the door with an other paper towel or you'll just cross contaminate yourself again.
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:17 PM   #9
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I think that they have to disclose the ingredients! Ask for a manager, or since it is a chain then try getting a hold of the head office!
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:49 PM   #10
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I think they have to tell ya...if you are reacting allergic it's their fault if they were not willing to tell you before. And depends on the allergic reaction it can be very dangerous...especially if ti's a kid.

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