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'Allergy-free' restaurants to aid Swedish sufferers

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08:43 CEST+02:00
Eating out in Swedish restaurants could soon be made easier for allergy sufferers, thanks to a new scheme to certify 'allergy-free' restaurants.

The certificate will be granted by Sweden's Asthma and Allergy Association to restaurants whose staff undergo a special training course that will enable them to better advise patrons of their food options and avoid the risk of allergic reactions.

"We have noticed for many years that people suffering from food allergies have a lot of problems when they eat out in a restaurant, and we want to help the restaurants cater to these people," Marianne Jarl, who is heading up the project, told AFP.

One in four adults in Sweden was believed to have some form of food allergy, though serious allergies were rarer, she added.

Mats Hulth, the head of the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association, welcomed the initiative.

"This is the first time in Sweden and the first time in Europe" that this kind of label is being made available to eateries, he said.

"It's a question of competition too because it could be good for a restaurant to show the sign on the door," he added.

Hulth himself is partly responsible for the scheme, having suffered a severe allergic reaction to nuts at a Danish restaurant that landed him in hospital.

A Swedish newspaper wrote about his misfortune, and he was later contacted by the Asthma and Allergy Association about a possible collaboration.

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