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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:50 pm
Posts: 5
Hi all,

My daughter has been invited to a birthday party at the Vancouver Aquarium. She has egg and soy allergies (among others), so I was going to send along a treat for her to eat, so that she didn't feel completely excluded.

And then I read their FAQs, which say, "Due to health reasons such as severe allergies, we cannot allow outside food." I've tried calling them twice, but no-one has called me back. The mother of the birthday child has told me that the aquarium cannot guarantee that there won't be any egg in the cake that the aquarium is providing. How ironic. They are protecting children with allergies by excluding them, and yet exposing them to potential allergens.

I have a feeling that if I DO get through to an actual person, they may stick to their policy.

Any suggestions as to how to deal with this? My daughter is really looking forward to going.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Tess's Mum, I (to use a word my mom used to say) am flabergasted!!!! Why on earth would they NOT allow food especially stating for reasons such as severe allergies. Almost every amusement park, Disney, the our huge waterparks, theme parks in Toronto all say you can't bring in food. But when I've emailed them they ALL have said of course for reasons such as allergies I could bring in food for our son.
To discriminate against a child for a 'disability' (throw that word at them...Susan has the link somewhere that Allergies are a disability in Canada I'm sure). I lived in Vancouver for 35 years of my life and took many trips to the aquarium. I am shocked at their attitude. The funny thing is, if you visit the aquarium you could have any kind of snack possible in your bag and munch away so they can't use the excuse they don't want food brought in.
An allergic child already has to deal with not eating the same food as party goers, but then to say you can come but don't eat anything, way to lower their self esteem. I would 100% force the issue, how many other allergic children haven't gone to parties or sat without eating anything due to their policy. And as you mentioned, it's fine for their cake to contain allergens which may endanger your child but not your own safe food???

ALL THE BEST with this one, I really hope for your daughter's sake this all turns out for the best and when you finally get through to a human being on the phone they will be compliant to your request. :huggy If they say no, we'll, I'd just personally take my own food anyway and then contact the Vancouver Anaphylaxis Support group for some backup.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:53 am
Posts: 207
Location: Winnipeg, MB
I would thank them for being so allergy aware and reassure them that of course you would never bring anything into the facility that would violate their allergen policy or put anyone else at risk. The I would ask what allergens they are avoiding to be sure that nothing you bring in would be an issue! Then, bring an appropriate snack that your child can eat that doesn't violate their policy!

Regardless of their response, I would bring the snack and beg for forgiveness if they kick up a fuss when you're there. I think they're probably just avoiding people bringing in Pizza and fancy cupcakes into the facility but would accommodate one child's request for a treat!

_________________
adult son allergic to peanuts, most tree nuts, eggs and penicillin.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:21 pm
Posts: 78
Location: Connecticut, USA
I don't know Canadian law. In America that would violate the ADA (Am with Disabilities Act). I hope you get through to them. Maybe you could reach them via email faster? I would also just pack a cupcake for your child. If they try to tell her she can't eat it she can tell them this is discrimination. I know someone who had something read in writing and asked the person who told her she couldn't have outside food to sign this statement saying they accept full responsibility if their child should have a reaction to the food the establishment served.

I wonder if the purpose is so that their facility is truly nut and peanut-free? maybe you could assure them that your cupcake is free of those things? Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:43 pm
Posts: 75
lakeswimr wrote:
I don't know Canadian law. In America that would violate the ADA (Am with Disabilities Act). I hope you get through to them. Maybe you could reach them via email faster? I would also just pack a cupcake for your child. If they try to tell her she can't eat it she can tell them this is discrimination. I know someone who had something read in writing and asked the person who told her she couldn't have outside food to sign this statement saying they accept full responsibility if their child should have a reaction to the food the establishment served.

I wonder if the purpose is so that their facility is truly nut and peanut-free? maybe you could assure them that your cupcake is free of those things? Good luck!


In Canada sometimes it varies from province to province. The federal government here really needs to step up and make it consistant across the board.

As for the outside food, I would just bring it anyways. Just make sure it is p/n free as I assume that is what they are going for. I have been there before and have brought my own food without any problems.

_________________
Moi: Pineapples, Turkey and Asthma.
Fiance: Ana. to Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts/Nuts and Horse. Also has asthma.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:50 pm
Posts: 5
Thanks for all the tips and advice, everyone! I felt supported if I needed to go into battle! :thanksign I was getting quite worked up, as I'd never encountered this situation before, and was imagining that this is what lies ahead for my me and my kids (my 2 1/2 month old also has food allergies :( ).

Anyways, the aquarium finally got back to me. It was not the woman who I left a message for and to whom I sent my email. Instead it sounded like a teenage boy! He said they'd decided to make an exception in the case of my daughter, and to allow us to bring in an outside snack for her. So I thanked him.

But I didn't want to just let it go like that -- what about all those other kids with allergies? I asked him what do they normally do for kids with allergies? The answer? If it's the birthday child, the parents have to purchase a special cake from their catering service. For the others -- NOTHING! He said, well there's juice and they play games.... I told him they need to reexamine their policy. That it's obviously hard for a child when they cannot participate, and if they don't even get some special treat, doubly hard. I used the word discriminatory. I threw in the word disability (but that's shaky ground -- I think it's only Transport Canada that has recognized that in some situations allergies are a disability). And I said that one day a parent is going to get even more upset than me and they'll be in trouble.

He said he'd pass my feedback on to his boss (the Director of Catering, I think).

I guess I'll be sending another email. I can't imagine his boss is going to take me very seriously if my words are coming from a teenager!

I just can't believe that the aquarium, which caters to kids, has such a terrible policy in place! I didn't have a chance to ask if this was about peanuts.

Funny thing is, when I googled Vancouver Aquarium and allergies, I found some stories about children who'd had peanut allergy reactions because of other kids with peanut butter sandwiches at the Aquarium. I also came across a recipe written by a chef at the aquarium WHO HAS ALLERGIES. You'd think they'd be more aware....


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:42 pm
Posts: 18
Location: In a store reading the ingredients
Hopefully someone will call you back soon to clarify. I have seen that type of comment before and when I've spoken with someone on site I found it's directed towards the general public, not the people with the food allergies.

My son has egg and peanut and in my personal experiences with places like this they look to the parents of allergic children as all knowing and I dont tell them otherwise :wink:

I'd give em a chance and see what they come back with.


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