Vegandale Brewery apologizes for serving dairy at Toronto restaurant
The company behind Toronto's self-styled "mecca for the ethically minded and hungry" is apologizing this week after a customer at one of its popular vegan restaurants accidentally ingested dairy and wound up in the hospital.
Ryerson student Vittoria Rabito, who is severely allergic to dairy products, had an anaphylactic reaction while eating a meatless pulled "pork" taco at Vegandale Brewery in Parkdale on November 9.
Thanks to quick paramedics and the use of an EpiPen, she was taken to hospital and stabilized, but didn't find out why she'd had a reaction until the restaurant confirmed to her a few weeks later that a seasoning they'd used "may contain traces of milk."
A manager invited Rabito back for a complimentary meal at one of Vegandale's other restaurants to compensate her for the incident, according to VICE News, in a gesture that her father later called "absolutely absurd."
Eva Lampert, Director of Vegan Operations at The 5700 Inc. (which manages the Vegandale block of businesses) said by email on Thursday night that the event was "unfortunate and unacceptable."
"We would like to take this time to address our customers serious and important concerns regarding allergies and dietary restrictions at our restaurants," she said. "We are sorry for what happened and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure it never does again."
Lampert says that Vegandale has since added "additional notices for our guests on our menus" to make them aware of potential cross-contamination at the factory level.
The company issued the following statement in response to criticism of their practices:
Veganism is the rejection of the exploitation of animals. In our restaurants, we promote justice for animals by cooking without the use of any animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.).
When we caution our guests that items "may contain milk," we are referring to the manufacturing of food ingredients we purchase that are produced in facilities that sometimes share equipment with items that do contain animal milk.
Cross-contamination can become an issue for those facing allergies, but does not render items non-vegan. We look forward to the demand for vegan items improving the availability of facilities that can create our restaurant staples without cross-contamination.
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