Struck down by two allergic reactions, a Bridlington artist wants to remind cafes and restaurants to serve exactly what they offer.
Two million people in the UK are allergic to different foods such as nuts, dairy and gluten to name a few.
Those affected put their trust in cafes, restaurants and other food providers to ensure the meal doesn’t include ingredients which can cause a lot of pain.
Bridlington resident Peter Horsefield wants to remind cafes in the town to ensure what they’re offering is what they serve.
Twice since moving to Bridlington 18 months ago, the 72-year-old, who is allergic to dairy, has had a reaction after eating out in the town.
The first incident, which occurred last year, was so severe that Peter, of Bempton Road, was taken to Scarborough Hospital.
“I’m not a vegan by choice, but if a meal is labelled as vegan it doesn’t include any dairy products,” said Peter.
“It’s either vegan or it isn’t, it can’t be vegan-ish.
“It’s not a lifestyle, it’s an allergy that knocks me into bed. It took me months to recover last time.”
When he was first taken to hospital Peter says his heart rate had shot up to 200 beats per minute.
“I’m normally really ill for about five days and then for the next five days I start to feel a bit better,” said Peter. “From then it usually takes me about 10 days to get back to normal.”
But he says the allergic reaction last year was so severe it took months to get back to his usual, healthy self.
Two weeks ago, Peter ate out in town and ordered a vegan dish which he has enjoyed previously. But by the time he got home the sickness had begun.
Having worked in the food industry, Peter says he knows its all about food preparation when it comes to allergies and that even the smallest contamination can have a huge affect on someone.
He said: “It’s all about a quality of trust. You put your trust in the chefs making the food to ensure if it says it’s dairy-free or gluten-free then that’s what it is.”
Peter was diagnosed in 1988 after a long period of illness, but looking back he says even as a child eating certain dairy products like cream would cause him to break out in a rash. “I don’t eat out very much I tend to cook at home. I’m a pensioner and it is expensive so when I do eat out it is a treat for me,” says Peter.
“Having been badly affected by ‘so-called’ vegan food twice, it has postponed what I wanted to do in Bridlington. I moved here for the arts side of things and I’m taking part in the ArtWaves festival this year. The first incident was so severe that it practically took a year out of my life.
“I’m getting older now and it takes me longer to fully recover. I want to remind cafes these things can have serious consequences, it’s not just a lifestyle choice for some people.”