Could Dessert be Deadly?

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By Alyssa Pence

Your tongue and lips start to tingle.

Your throat begins to get scratchy and close up.

These are only a few symptoms someone with a tree nut allergy experiences upon ingesting even the smallest bit of nut and this is exactly what happened to Megan Bridges, a William Peace University senior, after eating a brownie in Belk Dining Hall just a few days ago.

Bridges’ tree nut allergy includes walnuts, almonds, pecans, and macadamia nuts. Having this allergy for most of her life, she is very cautious about what she eats and can instantly tell when she has eaten a nut.

Bridges was extremely careful when taking a try of a coconut brownie in Belk. Bridges says she is aware that eating brownies is a risk as they normally have traces of tree nuts. Bridges asked a cafeteria worker and she says he specifically told her there was only coconut in the brownie – no tree nuts.

Upon taking her one and only bite, she instantly bit down on a walnut.
Taking this matter to the dining hall manager, Bridges says he told her there was nothing they could do about it and that they could not put up any more signage, so she would have to be more careful.

The vegetarian section gets plenty of signage and even comes with nutrition facts. The consumption of meat is a choice, not a life-threatening one.

The only sign the cafeteria displays warning of nuts in foods is a 4 by 5-inch sign stating that some of the desserts may contain nuts. Is that enough? In this situation, even asking someone was not good enough.

This story could have ended with Bridges in the hospital.

“I’ll never eat a dessert (in the dining hall) again,” she said.

“You can’t even trust them when you ask.”

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