A Toronto woman was hospitalized in November after she unknowingly consumed dairy at Vegandale Brewery, which is part of the Vegandale food chain, in Parkdale. The victim, Vittoria Rabito, talked to Vice about the incident in an interview that was released today.
Rabito explained that she is severely allergic to dairy and had an allergic attack at Vegandale that led to her getting admitted to a hospital. She had been assured by the server that no dairy would be in her meal, which turned out not to be the case.
Vegandale is an infamous vegan chain in Toronto and has had its fair share of controversy. Hundreds of locals protested against it just a few months ago. Despite this, the chain is still expanding, and has "three vegan brands and will expand to a collaboration of seven storefronts by the end of 2018", according to their website.
Vittoria Rabito found dairy in her food at Vegandale Brewery, which calls itself "Toronto's Only All Vegan Brewery & Restaurant" on their Instagram. After one bite of a vegan pulled pork taco, she already knew something was wrong and within 10 minutes, the Toronto resident had to be taken in an ambulance to the hospital, according to Vice. Five minutes after she took a bite, she couldn't breathe properly and had to use her EpiPen.
Rabito had told the restaurant about her severe dairy allergy, but her server confirmed that all of their items were completely vegan and did not contain dairy, according to Vice. However, there was cross-contamination in the factory, which resulted in traces of dairy in her food.
The restaurant has responded to the incident. "How this situation was dealt with was unacceptable," Elliot Johnson, kitchen manager at Vegandale Brewery, told VICE. He said they are taking measures to address the issue and is looking for a fully vegan supplier to replace their current vegetarian supplier.
However, the very ingredients in the vegan pulled pork tacos that caused the dairy allergic reaction is still the same as before, according to Vice. Their menu now warns about the risk of cross-contamination.
Rabito now does not believe Vegandale should market themselves as a vegan restaurant. "If you’re calling yourself a vegan restaurant, there is an assumption that the restaurant has done all of their due diligence with sourcing their product from the manufactures that their products are vegan," Rabito told Vice. "If they can’t do that, they should not be calling themselves vegan."