Thank you for writing the editorial featuring your experience (Food Allergies: A Personal Awareness, September/October 2016). Whether the cause was a food allergy or something else, your anxiety is something that we who have known food allergies have to live with every day.

Personally, I am allergic to all things dairy. My twin sister found out that she was allergic when we were 13. Back then (1984), no one in the general public knew you could be allergic to things like cheese and butter. People thought she was just being annoying. Some 13 years ago after a miscarriage, I started displaying the same symptoms after eating cheeses and ice cream. Since then, my allergic reactions have intensified.

Too many people in the general public do not understand the dire situations that we are put in. Eating out is sometimes like a war zone. We have to plan, research, ask questions, inspect our food, etc. to make sure that we aren’t getting any food that might have (or touched) the food (or same cooking surface) that we are allergic to. One time I ordered a pizza with no cheese. The employee making the pizza thought he would be funny, I guess, because he put little bits of shredded cheese under every piece of pepperoni. It could have killed me. He didn’t care. Hidden ingredients and ignorant food service workers (one who didn’t know that parmesan in the dressing was actually cheese) are our nightmares.

I work in the food manufacturing business. Before I handle any of the biscuits or cheese that we pack, I have to put on gloves. Being in charge of our food labels, I make sure that allergens are thoroughly investigated and spotlighted on the package (not just in the ingredients).

Anyway, thank you for the editorial and the support. I hope you find out what caused your allergic reaction.

Lonna Kennedy, Quality Assurance Manager, Williams Sausage Company, Union City, Tenn.