New flex meal menu (10/06/21)

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Ryan

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There are over 170+ known food allergens. That is gonna be a long list for LSAs to tote. It appears that the Amtrak's "Food Facts" menu ingredients by meal with the nine common known allergen groups covers the 2.5% of food allergies public as required.
This isn't rocket surgery. Publish a list of ingredients like every single product in the grocery store. As @neroden has pointed out repeatedly, this information is available to Amtrak because it legally has to be on the meals that they are purchasing. Literally doing nothing would be an improvement over actively making the information they have in their possession unavailable to their customers.

"They provide info for the popular allergens" is completely worthless to people with uncommon allergies and is completely unacceptable. Your defense of them is garbage.
 

Rambling Robert

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The video didn't show them eating the new to be [as of 2019] flex meals which have become so unpopular.
Sorry I meant to say that the inference was the top secret meal was likely flex/crud. - but there was no taste test allowed to be in Madi’s video.

In June 2919 Chef Madi received an internship from the Rail Passenger Association - just after this video - and she spent 50 days visiting Amtrak cities to sample America’s cuisine.

My first flex meal was December 2019 on the LSL. It was really really bad. On the bright side I’ll be on a DownEaster foliage run very soon... they have a new vegetarian lasagna - the Merlot is good and will go well.
 

alpha3

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This isn't rocket surgery. Publish a list of ingredients like every single product in the grocery store. As @neroden has pointed out repeatedly, this information is available to Amtrak because it legally has to be on the meals that they are purchasing. Literally doing nothing would be an improvement over actively making the information they have in their possession unavailable to their customers.
"They provide info for the popular allergens" is completely worthless to people with uncommon allergies and is completely unacceptable. Your defense of them is garbage.
Not trying to be unkind but that's rather ridiculous. How allergic to everything are you? When (or if) you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you ask to see ingredients for everything on the menu you're interested in?
 

me_little_me

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Not trying to be unkind but that's rather ridiculous. How allergic to everything are you? When (or if) you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you ask to see ingredients for everything on the menu you're interested in?
Not a fair comparison. @alpha3 is not asking the crew to know it, but publishing online is not that difficult for anyone (except Amtrak who can't publish when their trains are scheduled to arrive) so customers can decide what they can and cannot eat.
 

Ryan

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Not trying to be unkind but that's rather ridiculous. How allergic to everything are you? When (or if) you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you ask to see ingredients for everything on the menu you're interested in?
I’m not allergic to anything, so it isn’t an issue for me. There are several other members that *are* allergic to uncommon things that do have to ask to see ingredients to know if they can safely eat something or not. Try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes for a minute and imagine living in a world where you can’t know what can safely being consumed because the people with the ingredients list are incapable of making that information available to the people that they are serving the food to. As has been repeatedly stated at this point, it doesn’t require anything of the on board personnel. Publish it on the already-existing website for customers to be able to educate themselves on what they can safely eat. It isn’t a huge ask.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Not trying to be unkind but that's rather ridiculous. How allergic to everything are you? When (or if) you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you ask to see ingredients for everything on the menu you're interested in?
You only need to have a bad allergic reaction to one thing to be concerned about what you eat. Some people are allergic to garlic - which is used in many, many foods.
 

SarahZ

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This isn't rocket surgery.
Seriously. My company carries approximately 2000 ice cream products and 500 dairy products, and I can pull up a PDF of the ingredients and nutritional info for any item in about 30 seconds.

Even though we distribute most of the ice cream rather than making it on site, we STILL have access to those ingredient lists. We get them from the manufacturers and keep them updated.

I find it hard to believe Amtrak can't make this information readily available to their CSRs. When they order the flex meals, they should scan the information (or request a PDF from the vendor). We store ours in Dropbox so everyone has easy access.
 

20th Century Rider

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Not trying to be unkind but that's rather ridiculous. How allergic to everything are you? When (or if) you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you ask to see ingredients for everything on the menu you're interested in?
I like what you said... so much stuff is overdone when people are just looking for any excuse to criticize!!!
 

AmtrakBlue

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I like what you said... so much stuff is overdone when people are just looking for any excuse to criticize!!!
Excuse to criticize? How about reading up on food allergies. Would you want to deal with the following symptoms every time you eat out?

Garlic is used way too much, as far as I’m concerned. Though allergies to it may be rare, it should be listed as one. Remember, peanut allergy wasn’t taken seriously in the past.

Note the last sentence.

D472BA92-7704-486C-BD69-191D46E1E828.jpeg
 
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Ryan

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I like what you said... so much stuff is overdone when people are just looking for any excuse to criticize!!!
I can assure you that the people that I know with unusual food allergies aren't "looking for any excuse to criticize" and would love nothing more than to be able to eat things without worrying about if it will make them feel miserable, send them to the hospital, or kill them. Coincidentally, I have a friend that's been selected for jury duty and asked this evening if anyone in the county had served recently and what the rules are with respect to bringing your own food/drink. Her stated rationale? "I know that there is a cafeteria on site, but with my food allergies I'm not comfortable eating there and not knowing if it's safe or not".
 

jebr

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Not trying to be unkind but that's rather ridiculous. How allergic to everything are you? When (or if) you go out to a restaurant to eat, do you ask to see ingredients for everything on the menu you're interested in?
If someone has allergies, they'll ask either for an ingredients list or if said ingredients are part of any menu items. If something's prepared offsite, there's usually an ingredients list attached, and if it's prepared on-site the chef or cook should know what they're putting into the food.

Amtrak could easily post this information on their website - the entrees are known in advance and they come with ingredient lists to Amtrak. It'd take a few minutes for someone to peel them off, scan them in, and post them on the (already existing!) Amtrak Food Facts site.
 

AmHope

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My experience with flex has taught me to carry a small travel spice kit to make it palatable. A bit of curry powder and Sriracha does wonders. Nothing will fix the obscene sodium content though, so you just need to swig some water while you eat. Thankfully my home trains are traditional again.
 

alpha3

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Really, at some point if you have allergies this is on you to take care of yourself. I love most foods, I fortunately don't have food allergies, thank heavens. BUT - if I did - I certainly wouldn't depend on Amtrak, United, Delta, American, or anyone else to assure me the food being served was devoid of my allergy items. I'd bring my own food and not have to worry about such. (And probably enjoy it more!)
 

Devil's Advocate

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Really, at some point if you have allergies this is on you to take care of yourself. I love most foods, I fortunately don't have food allergies, thank heavens. BUT - if I did - I certainly wouldn't depend on Amtrak, United, Delta, American, or anyone else to assure me the food being served was devoid of my allergy items. I'd bring my own food and not have to worry about such. (And probably enjoy it more!)
You keep doubling down on this rant but how are you being impacted by other people needing a full allergen list? Providing the ingredients would put the onus on the passenger to identify what they can eat or not. Nothing sounds less genuine than telling people how you would handle a problem you've never faced.
 

joelkfla

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My experience with flex has taught me to carry a small travel spice kit to make it palatable. A bit of curry powder and Sriracha does wonders. Nothing will fix the obscene sodium content though, so you just need to swig some water while you eat. Thankfully my home trains are traditional again.
I got a few 1 oz. bottles of Tabasco from the Walmart sample machine a while ago, which I've been saving for my next trip. Tabasco makes anything taste better.
 

alpha3

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You keep doubling down on this rant but how are you being impacted by other people needing a full allergen list? Providing the ingredients would put the onus on the passenger to identify what they can eat or not. Nothing sounds less genuine than telling people how you would handle a problem you've never faced.
I'm not ranting; calm down. Telling people how I would handle a problem is called an opinion; you're allowed to have those on forums, if I'm not mistaken. You can disagree with it, sure. I'm simply saying take care of your own self - If you're allergic to several things it's far better to bring your own than depend on a laundry list from a provider that may or may not be complete or accurate.
 

jis

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I'm not ranting; calm down. Telling people how I would handle a problem is called an opinion; you're allowed to have those on forums, if I'm not mistaken. You can disagree with it, sure. I'm simply saying take care of your own self - If you're allergic to several things it's far better to bring your own than depend on a laundry list from a provider that may or may not be complete or accurate.
Good thing about opinions is that they can also be silently ignored :D
 

pennyk

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I'm not ranting; calm down. Telling people how I would handle a problem is called an opinion; you're allowed to have those on forums, if I'm not mistaken. You can disagree with it, sure. I'm simply saying take care of your own self - If you're allergic to several things it's far better to bring your own than depend on a laundry list from a provider that may or may not be complete or accurate.
As someone who has food allergies, I strongly disagree with you. By asking servers in restaurants and reviewing ingredient lists on line, those with allergies are "taking care of themselves." When that information should be, and is not, available, it makes eating at restaurants more challenging. Are you suggesting that those with food allergies should not eat in restaurants or travel on trains unless they carry their own food (possibly for 10 days)?

I am able to receive accurate information from customer relations as to which flex meal entrees contain garlic. That information is available and I trust them. Fortunately for me, I will not die if I consume garlic, but will get sick and be quite uncomfortable for 6 hours. However, it is unfortunate that the complete ingredients list is not available to passengers without jumping through many hoops. I cannot count the number of hours I have spent over the last 11 years trying to find ingredients for traditional dining meals, contemporary meals and flex meals. It would be much easier for me to go online to "Food Facts" than to make multiple phone calls or send multiple emails to Customer Relations every time there is a menu change. (Since I will be traveling in December and the traditional dining menu has changed, I will need to determine which of the new entrees I will be able to eat. I will be away for 10 days traveling in expensive bedrooms. I should not be expected to carry food for 3 meals a day for 10 days),

The contemporary meals contained a card in the box containing the complete ingredient list. Some of the new flex meals (such as the omelet) have a complete ingredient list attached to the plastic covering (which may or may not be removed by the LSA).

I agree with my friend @jis (who can attest to the fact that I ask servers in restaurants whether certain meals contain garlic) and will ignore your opinion (but maybe not so silently). :p
 
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I don’t have any food allergies, but I would like to add that an ingredients list would be helpful for anyone eating on Amtrak.

It took me a while to figure out why I always felt slightly sick and queasy after a few Amtrak meals. (I’m talking of “old” traditional dining on the Silvers—much better quality than the flex meals—so it’s been a few years.)

I finally realized that, although I’m not a consistently healthy eater by any means, I was eating more sodium, fat, and sugar in 24 hours than I normally do.

Without an ingredients list, I had to guess and choose between nonhealthy items. For example, if I wanted the pumpkin cake after dinner, I would not have the croissant at breakfast.

Guessing sodium is trickier than guessing fat and sugar, so I know I consumed a huge amount of sodium on those trips.

An ingredients list is crucial for people with food allergies. Although such a list is not crucial for those of us without food allergies, it would help us make better choices and feel better physically on the trip.

By the way, I did have one flex meal—the Asian noodle bowl on the LSL before the pandemic—and felt sicker than I ever had with the traditional menu.
 
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