Chinese Restaurant Food Allergic Reaction Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation For An Allergic Reaction After Eating In Chinese Restaurant

How Much Could I Claim For A Chinese Food Allergic Reaction?

If you’ve had an allergic reaction after eating Chinese food, you could have suffered symptoms ranging from the relatively minor, to those that may be life-threatening. Ordering food from restaurants when you have a food allergy could be a bit of a minefield, but food service providers do have a duty of care towards their customers, and if they cause you harm by breaching that duty of care, you may be able to make a personal injury claim against them. 

This guide looks in detail at Chinese food allergic reactions, and how personal injury claims of this type work. In the sections below, we cover in detail what constitutes a food allergy, including an MSG allergy, as well as looking at what responsibilities Chinese restaurants have towards customers with a food allergy. 

We also offer some information on personal injury claims payouts and discuss how using a personal injury lawyer could help make claiming less stressful. If you would like to ask us anything about a Chinese food allergic reaction, or have your case assessed for free to see if you could be eligible to claim, please do not hesitate to speak to us. You can reach us anytime on 0161 696 9685.

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A Guide To Claiming For A Chinese Restaurant Allergic Reaction

Allergic reaction after eating in Chinese restaurant compensation claims-guide

Allergic reaction after eating in Chinese restaurant compensation claims-guide

A Chinese restaurant allergic reaction could happen for a number of reasons. You might not have taken care when ordering a dish to check what was in it, or you may have tried someone else’s food, not realising that allergens were contained within them. These types of incidents would not usually lead to a personal injury claim. 

However, if you’ve suffered a Chinese food allergic reaction because you have not been provided with the correct Chinese food allergy info from the restaurant, or the staff there have not complied with your specific request for your food to be prepared without a certain ingredient, you may be wise to seek help from a personal injury solicitor to file a personal injury claim against a negligent restaurant.

While you could claim without the help of a solicitor, we would certainly advise that you consider getting legal help with such claims. Not only could a lawyer help you prove that the allergic reaction after eating Chinese food was caused by the restaurant’s breach of duty of care, but they could also ensure you do not miss out on any of the compensation you are eligible to claim, and that action is taken within the personal injury claims time limit relevant to your case.

Below, we cover in detail the types of Chinese food allergy symptoms you could suffer if you’ve consumed something you’re allergic to. We also provide information about what allergen information restaurants should provide to you, along with some information about the damages you could claim if you’ve suffered a Chinese restaurant allergic reaction. We hope you find this guide useful. If you need further assistance after reading this guide or would like our help with finding a reputable lawyer who could take your case on under No Win No Fee terms, we’d be glad to help you.

What Are Chinese Food Allergies And Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?

An allergic reaction to food usually occurs if your body sees a harmless ingredient as a threat and takes steps to launch an immune system response to combat such a threat. 

Unfortunately, many people in the UK suffer allergies, and if you have been diagnosed with a nut allergy, dairy allergy, or any other type of food allergy, this may mean you have to take special care when ordering food from restaurants or delivery services. If you are considering ordering Chinese food, you may ask the restaurant for their Chinese food allergy menu so that you could see what foods are safe for you to eat without triggering an allergic reaction. However, if the restaurant does not provide you with the correct information, or ignores your request to omit an ingredient you are allergic to when preparing your dish, you could suffer symptoms of a Chinese food allergy.

The main types of allergies relating to foods are mixed IgE and non-IgE mediated food allergies, which could produce a range of symptoms.

  • A non-IgE-mediated food allergy could lead to symptoms such as dry, cracking, red and itchy skin rashes, constipation and vomiting, as well as stomach cramps. These types of reaction could take some time to appear so it may not be clear right away that you’ve consumed an allergen.
  • An IgE mediated food allergy could cause a range of symptoms, including dizziness, trouble swallowing, swelling of the throat, mouth, face or body, hives, hay fever symptoms, wheezing, nausea, vomiting and itching or tingling of the mouth.

Depending on the severity and type of reaction you’ve had, you may have to just wait until symptoms dissipate, or you may take antihistamines in some cases. However, if you have a severe Chinese food allergic reaction, this may lead to anaphylaxis, which could need urgent medical treatment.

What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Anaphylactic Shock?

The causes of anaphylactic shock are many and varied. It depends entirely on what you’re allergic to and how severe your allergies are. 

This type of reaction usually comes on very quickly after consuming an allergen and symptoms could include any of the IgE-mediated symptoms, as well as collapsing, rapid heartbeat, confusion, anxiety, difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing, clamminess and wheezing. 

Some people with severe allergies carry an adrenaline auto-injector if they are aware that their allergies are severe enough to warrant it, and this should be administered as quickly as possible if the person appears to be suffering from anaphylaxis. You may have to call an ambulance to get hospital treatment for a patient who is suffering a severe reaction as it is essential that symptoms are treated quickly in order for the patient to have the best chance of recovery.

What Is Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?

You may have heard the phrase Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, but you may not be fully aware of what this means. This is a term that was coined in the 1960s and is now considered to be outdated. It relates to the symptoms suffered by some people after eating Chinese food. Now, this condition is known as MSG symptom complex, as it is thought that the symptoms that people experience relate to the inclusion of MSG in their food.

What are the signs and symptoms of MSG intolerance?

MSG in Chinese food side effects could include:

  • Sweating
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Numbness/burning in the mouth or throat

To answer the question ‘do Chinese restaurants still use MSG, and what chemicals are in Chinese food?’ this could differ depending on the restaurant you’re ordering from. While MSG is banned in some US states, European Union rules do allow it to be used as an additive in small amounts. You would be wise to check with the restaurant you’re ordering from if you fear that you may have a Chinese food allergic reaction to MSG, so that you can avoid consuming the additive if you are allergic to it.

Protections For Diners Under Civil And Criminal Law

Consumers are afforded a certain level of protection when it comes to Chinese food and allergies, just as they are with other restaurant’s food. Criminal laws relating to allergens and consumer rights include:

  • Article 28 of EC Regulation 178/2002 (General Food Law Regulation) – This relates to the traceability of foods so that accurate information can be given to consumers.
  • Article 14 of EC Regulation 178/2002 (General Food Law Regulation) – This states that food could be deemed unsafe if it injures someone’s health.
  • Section 15 of The Food Safety Act 1990 – This relates to the false description or presentation of food.
  • Section 14 of The Food Safety Act 1990 – This relates to the sale of food that is deemed to be not of the substance or nature or quality demanded by the customer.

In addition, Civil Law, and in particular the Consumer Rights Act 2015, protects consumers from suffering injury, damage or loss relating to food that is considered as being not as described or defective.

For example, if you ask the serving staff about the sweet and sour prawn balls allergens and the information you are given about the allergens contained in the food is incorrect, leading to a Chinese restaurant allergic reaction, this could mean the food item you ordered was not as described and caused you to suffer harm. This could lead to you being eligible to claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered as well as any costs or expenses that have arisen as a direct result of your Chinese food allergy.

Should You Inform A Restaurant Of Your Chinese Food Allergy?

If, for example, you have a dairy allergy, it might be wise to ask what the allergenic ingredients are in special fried rice, or what is dairy-free at a Chinese restaurant before you place your order. However, information about certain allergens should be included on the menu of a Chinese restaurant, or on their website or the packaging of pre-packaged foods. If it is not, and you order the food, consume it and suffer a Chinese restaurant allergic reaction, this may be the restaurant’s fault as they have failed to provide you with information that should have been clearly communicated.

Food laws state that certain allergens should be clearly communicated to consumers so that they could make informed decisions as to what foods are safe for them to consume. The full list of allergens that should be communicated can be found here. However, we have produced the following list below to give you a quick guide:

  • Cereals with gluten/wheat
  • Crustacea and related products
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Lactose
  • Nuts (including tree nuts)
  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Shellfish
  • Sesame seeds
  • Lupin
  • Molluscs
  • Sulphites/Sulphur dioxide

Could Diners Request Ingredients Be Left Out Of A Meal At A Restaurant?

Whether you have an allergy or intolerance to sesame, soya cooking oils or certain fruit or vegetables, it may be a good idea to ask the restaurant whether they could prepare your food without using an ingredient you are known to be allergic or intolerant to. 

Government guidelines state that if a restaurant can make amendments to a dish to avoid you suffering an allergy, they should try and do so. If you are worried about Chinese food and allergies you could suffer from, the restaurant should be able to provide you with details of the ingredients used in their dishes that could be left out, allowing you to safely consume a dish. If they cannot leave an ingredient out, they should inform you of this so you could make another choice.

What Happens If The Restaurant Serves Me Food With The Allergen In?

If, for example, you wish to order crab and sweetcorn soup, but one of the ingredients is celery, which you are allergic to, and you ask the restaurant to omit the celery when preparing your dish, you would expect the soup you get not to contain any celery. However, if the restaurant serves you the soup with celery in it, and you suffer a Chinese restaurant allergic reaction, the restaurant could be held liable for the harm you’ve suffered due to their negligence.

Facts And Statistics On Restaurant Food Allergies

Allergy UK’s website reveals that there are many allergy sufferers in the UK. Their statistics reveal that:

  • Over 20% of the UK’s population have at least one allergy
  • The least likely people to suffer an allergic condition in the UK are pensioners
  • Around 50% of young adults (under 35) suffer an allergy
  • Between March of 2013 and February of 2014, there were 20,318 hospital admissions in the UK that related to allergic conditions
  • 44% of British adults have at least one allergy with almost half of these sufferers having more than one allergy

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Food Allergies?

While you could be intolerant or allergic to a wide variety of foods, there are certain food allergies that could be considered more common than others according to Allergy UK. These include:

  • Tree Nuts
  • Molluscs
  • Milk
  • Crustaceans
  • Sulphur dioxide (sometimes referred to as sulphites)
  • Soya
  • Celery
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Mustard
  • Lupin
  • Fish
  • Cereals containing gluten

If you are not sure whether you have an allergy, it might be worth considering allergy testing. The NHS website has a facility to search for allergy services in your area, which you can find here.

Calculating Compensation For A Chinese Restaurant Allergic Reaction

Are you considering making a claim for a Chinese restaurant allergic reaction? If so, you might have looked for a tool such as a personal injury claims calculator to help you work out how much your claim could be worth. However, we should mention that these tools wouldn’t be able to give you an accurate figure, as the calculation of your compensation payout would depend on the specific circumstances and facts relating to your case.

As part of any compensation claim for an allergic reaction after eating Chinese food, you would be required to have a medical appointment with an independent doctor, no matter whether you’d had GP or hospital treatment at the time or not. This is so that the independent doctor could review your notes, examine you, and then write a report that could be used as medical evidence in order to prove your injuries and provide details of your prognosis. This and other evidence could be used to work out how much compensation would be appropriate for your claim.

We understand that it may feel a little disappointing not to know how much you’re likely to get for your claim. Therefore, we have provided a table below with figures from the Judicial College Guidelines that could relate to a Chinese restaurant allergic reaction.

InjuryRemarksApprox compensation
Mental AnguishFearing for a loss of life could bring this type of award£4,380
Slight allergiesSlight reaction that resolves within a few days or weeks. From around £860 to £3,710
Minor allergiesVictims may have needed to have treatment at the hospital but there wouldn't be any long-term effects£3,710 - £8,950
Serious allergiesShort-lived but severe initial symptoms. Claimants would not suffer any long-term effects£8,950 - £18,020
Severe allergiesReactions leading to a long-term effect on claimants' ability to work or their ability to enjoy a social life with severe symptoms initially could mean claims are valued in this bracket.£36,060 - £49,270

Special Damages And Compensation

Compensation for a Chinese food allergy could also include special damages. These relate to costs and expenses incurred as a direct result of the reaction you’ve suffered. They could include:

  • Medical costs – these could relate to prescription charges, counselling costs and the like
  • Travel costs – these could relate to transport to hospital appointments or meetings with your lawyer
  • Care costs – these could include costs for care you’ve required at home due to your reaction
  • Loss of earnings – if you had to take time off sick to recover from your Chinese restaurant allergic reaction, which has meant you losing out on income, this could be a cost you could claim for too

No Win No Fee Claims For A Chinese Restaurant Allergic Reaction

Claiming for an allergic reaction after eating Chinese food need not mean you have to pay upfront legal fees. Instead, you could make a No Win No Fee claim. Claims of this type are governed by a Conditional Fee Agreement that you’d be asked to sign at the beginning of your claim. This agreement would promise your lawyer a small success fee (usually a legally capped proportion of your compensation) if they managed to successfully negotiate a compensation settlement.

If your lawyer was not able to get you any compensation, you would not have to pay their success fee. You would not have to pay for the lawyer’s costs incurred as a result of pursuing your claim either.

Here at Legal Helpline, we believe that No Win No Fee claims offer a way for any claimant, regardless of their financial situation to claim for personal injury if they are eligible to do so. We could connect you with a personal injury lawyer from our panel that works on this basis who could take your claim forward if you would like us to.

We Are Here To Help

Whether you have further questions about Chinese food and allergy claims, or you’d like us to check whether your Chinese restaurant allergic reaction could lead to compensation, we’d be happy to assist. Simply contact our team and we will assess your case for free. If the assessment of your case leads us to believe that you could claim compensation, we could connect you with a lawyer from our panel that could start your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. Want to get started? Simply:

  • Call 0161 696 9685
  • Fill in the contact form and we’ll get in touch at a time that suits you
  • Or, chat to us using the Live Chat service right here from our website.

Find Out More – Supporting Resources

Seafood Allergy Compensation Claims – Here, we offer guidance to those that have suffered a seafood allergy.

Milk Allergy Claims – Making a claim if you’ve suffered an allergic reaction to milk? Our guide offers a wealth of information that could help you.

Making A Claim For A Nut Allergy – We have produced a guide relating to nut allergy claims too. You can find out all about these types of claims, including how much compensation you could get here.

Peanut Allergy Treatment – The NHS site has produced information on a potential treatment for peanut allergy sufferers. You can read about it here.

Food Safety – The government’s food safety website could be useful when looking for allergy information.

Information On Chinese Foods And Allergens – This page gives information on allergens in commonly ordered Chinese foods such as sweet and sour prawn balls, crab and sweetcorn soup and special fried rice.


Guide by JS

Edited by REG