Restaurants / cafes should be required to provide microwaves for parental use
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My daughter has Cerebral Palsy and is only able to eat wet, mashable / food processed meals. We often find that food processing facilities are not available in cafes and restaurants and sometimes the only food served is dry food such as pastries etc. that can not be mashed or made easily consumable for young children or children with swallowing problems like my daughter. We are now very often being either told that if the food available on site is not suitable, we are not allowed to give our children home made pre-pared food, even when the rest of the party are eating a meal / drinking at the restaurant or café. I can only imagine that this is because of the concern in regards to loss of income for the one child that is not physically able to eat the food available. In cases when the consumption of home prepared food has been allowed we have often been told that the staff will not heat the food in a microwave for health and safety reasons. We are often given the option of being given boiling hot water in a large bowl or jug to put our pot of food into instead to "reduce risk". This does not heat food well and in addition means we have a bowl of boiling hot water sitting on our dinner table with a smaller pot floating in it. Can this really be a smaller risk than allowing a parent to sign a disclaimer to say that they will take responsibility for any food heated by staff in a microwave, as they would with any other meal they would give to their children or providing a facility such as the use of a microwave in the seating area so that parents can heat the food themselves. This is already done is some shopping malls / supermarkets.
The difficulties highlighted above lead to many families feeling unable to eat out as a family. Surely this is a matter of inequality and social justice in relation to access to food and services. Furthermore I feel their is a national misunderstanding by companies in regards to their responsibilities in relation to health and safety, the use of disclaimers and a lack of concern regarding the distress caused to families - meaning that most companies have not even considered the possibility of providing a microwave in the seating area for parents to use themselves.
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