There’s been a lot of attention paid to food allergies in the last couple years. But what happens to folks with food allergies when they travel overseas?
At least 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies And 90% of all food allergy reactions are caused by 8 foods: milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Country music star Trace Adkins championed this cause when he appeared on the Celebrity Apprentice last year and raised awareness for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), an organization dedicated to educating and advocating for Americans living (and of course traveling) with food allergies.
So what happens to this education once a person with a food allergy leaves the country? Americans are spoiled by the mandated labeling that appears on packaged foods and even restaurant menus. But in a foreign country, this helpful information might not appear or you may not be able to translate it. The downside could be significant.
The good news is that there are tools available to help you manage this risk. Select Wisely offers translation cards that you can keep in your wallet and refer to when you are ordering foods in unfamiliar territory. mPassport® offers you the ability to translate phrases to allow you to communicate your allergies in many different languages. Words certainly take on value when you realize that knowing five simple ones such as “I am allergic to peanuts,” can save your life.
What it means is that you can have food allergies and still be free to travel the world. Just do your homework before you board the plane. Sure, you can go on vacation and just eat bread (as long as you don’t have a gluten allergy), but if you want to get the full experience of a foreign culture, you’ll want to get a taste for the local cuisine.