Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to departure. However, getting safety needs squared away with an airline only helps people arrive at their destination safely. Being safe while staying overseas takes further preparation.
Foreign Cuisine Savvy
Before touching down on foreign soil, do some research into the traditional cuisine of your destination country. Knowing what the region’s staple food ingredients tell you which food allergens are ever-present there.
For instance, in Latin America (especially Mexico and Peru), West, and East Africa, and Southeast Asia (especially Vietnam and Indonesia) many sauces, soups, and stews contain groundnuts, or peanuts.
Shellfish is a typical food ingredient in most coastal areas. It is frequently found in their soups, stews, and dishes such as ceviche, sushi, and paella. In Scandinavian countries, milk and other dairy products are common meal ingredients.
Grains containing gluten are used in many parts of the world. In Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union, gluten is now identified as an allergen on food labels. This is helpful when purchasing packaged foods, but it is still important to ask about the presence of gluten when ordering at a restaurant.
Three More Ways To Prepare
Though knowing a region’s typical cuisine is helpful, it is vital to recognize and pronounce the name of your allergens in the language of your destination country. To help with this you can make or purchase allergen translation cards, or utilize a smartphone translation app. Yet, cards can be lost and electronic devices run out of juice. Committing the words to memory is a great safety backup plan.
You will also want to prepare for those times when none of the available foods are safe. Bring a store of non-perishable items with you, preferably products with plenty of protein and fiber to help you feel full and satisfied. For extended trips, consider sending a supply of safe foods ahead to your hotel or other living accommodation.
Finally, always carry your medication or auto-injector, and let assertiveness be your trusty travel companion. It is always okay to inquire about ingredients and cooking methods in restaurants or food shops. Be picky about everything down to the sauces and garnishes, and enjoy your trip.