Is a restaurant responsible for food allergies?

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Is a restaurant responsible for food allergies?

More specifically, I was eating at a restaurant about 2 weeks ago that did not have warnings about whether or not their food contained peanuts. I do not normally react very violently to peanuts so it never occurred to me to ask about whether or not their food contained it. However, later that day I was hospitalized for anaphylaxis and am now seeking for the restaurant to pay my medical bills as when I asked them to put a warning sign up their only response was “Everyone knows that Lemon Rice contained peanuts.” I went there again today and there was still no warning sign concerning nuts.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under General Practice, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, a restaurant is NOT generally responsible for medical costs or injuries arising from food allergies, because they have done nothing wrong (i.e. there is no fault, since there is no intentional bad act or negligence (carelessness)) by simply serving people the meals they order. If you had asked about peanuts and they had replied that there were none, but nonetheless, the meal either contained or was contaminated by peanuts, then they might well be liable, since in that case, they would have been negligent. Or if they listed the ingredients and you ordered based on that list, but the list was wrong, they again would likely be negligent and liable. But if you simply order a meal without inquiring as to what is in it, the restaurant has done nothing wrong by serving it to you.


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