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Communicating Food Allergies Around the World

Having a food allergy can mean that the prospect of travelling to destinations where you don’t speak the language and may accidentally expose yourself to a sneaky peanut or wheat based dish may fill you with worry and prevent you from trying new cuisines (and what a shame that would be, with so much good food to discover on your travels).

Understanding of allergies, intolerances and food issues is on the rise both in the UK and in other parts of the world, however. You will no longer be regarded as simply a “fussy eater” if you mention you can’t eat a certain type of food, nor (usually) be pressed to “just try it”.

When travelling, it’s useful to have a store of phrases in order to communicate your food needs clearly.

In French:

“I have an allergy to…” “Je’ai une allergie à … ”

Peanuts / cacahuètes

Fish / poisson

Milk / lait

Nuts / noix

Seeds / graines

Egg / œuf

Soya / soja

Alcohol  / alcool

Fruit and Veg / Fruits et légumes

Wheat / blé

In Spanish:

“I have an allergy to…”

” Tengo una alergia a … ”

Peanuts / cacahuates

Fish / pescado

Milk / leche

Nuts / nueces

Seeds / semillas

Egg / huevo

Soya / soja

Alcohol / alcohol

Fruit and Veg / Frutas y verduras

Wheat / trigo

In Croatian:

“I have an allergy to…”

“Imam alergiju na…”

Peanuts / kikiriki

Fish / riba

Milk / mlijeko

Nuts / lud

Seeds / sjemenke

Egg / jaje

Soya / soja

Alcohol / alkohol

Fruit and Veg / Voće i povrće

Wheat / pšenica

In Greek:

“I have an allergy to…”

“Écho allergía sto… ”

Peanuts / arápika fistíkia

Fish / psári

Milk / gála

Nuts / xiroí karpoíSeeds / SpóroiEgg / avgóSoya / sógia

Alcohol / alkoól

Fruit and Veg / Froúta kai lachaniká

Wheat / sitári

In Italian:

“I have an allergy to…”

“Ho un’allergia a… ”

Peanuts / arachidi

Fish / pesce

Milk / latte

Nuts /noccioline

Seeds / seeds

Egg / uovo

Soya / soia

Alcohol / alcol

Fruit and Veg / Frutta e verdura

Wheat / grano

Unless you’re a skilled and confident linguist, it’s best to keep things simple and just clearly state that you have an allergy to something if you want to avoid it, rather than getting into details of “Well I think I may have some kind of intolerance to wheat?” In fact, just keep a card with the details written down if you’re worried about pronunciation. Even if you’re packing light, those with an allergy should always keep anti-histamines on hand and if you have an adrenaline pen, make sure that you don’t leave it at home – and don’t check it in either (read on for more check-in tips)! A note from your doctor will ensure that you are allowed to take these medicines on the flight with you.