Gluten Free and Food Allergies Around the World
It is estimated that over 300 million individuals worldwide manage special dietary needs.
Food allergies, sensitivities, autism, ADD/ADHD, diabetes, celiac/coeliac disease and other auto-immune diseases are all contributing factors to following special dietary lifestyles. Food allergies are growing increasingly more common impacting 3–4% of the world’s population.
Additionally, estimates of those with food intolerances and sensitivities range from 15–25% of the population in the US, Europe and Australia. It is also projected that 50% of Europeans will be affected by food or environmental allergies by 2015.
Anaphylaxis, which is a potential life threatening allergic reaction impacts 1% of the global population.
Celiac disease, spelled coeliac outside of North America, is one of the world’s most misdiagnosed diseases, impacting 1-2% of the population globally. Celiac / coeliac disease is a genetic auto-immune disorder reflected in a permanent intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is the most misdiagnosed auto-immune disorder in the world.
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Find Food & Travel Resources Across the Globe
To help you during your global travels, we have compiled the following list of hundreds of celiac / coeliac groups, food allergy associations and relevant blogs.
These resources offer you location-specific advice about eating, traveling, shopping and cooking while living or visiting various countries around the world.
United Arab Emirates
No Wheat, No Dairy, No Eggs – No Problem
Dining out can pose risks for travelers with food allergies or dietary restrictions, and doing so abroad, where the diner may have a less-than expert grasp of the language, may increase that risk. Kim Koeller has been there and has successfully learned to navigate culinary pitfalls while on the road.
Koeller said knowing what to ask and being informed about preparation procedures can help travelers ferret out possible allergens. “The complications really depend upon the country,” she said. “Certain countries are more attuned to and are aware of food allergies and gluten free diets that others.”
Koeller’s GlutenFree Passport has a quick solution for overseas travel – downloadable translation cards available for free and in 12 different languages. Take steps to prevent food allergies from grounding your travel plans.
Traveling with Food Allergies—Smart Traveler: Expert Opinion
Kim Koeller, co-author of Let’s Eat Out!, offers these tips for dining out while traveling. Prepare: “If you use an allergy medication, have it on hand at all times. Those who require an EpiPen—used to treat anaphylaxis—should carry a doctor’s note.” Request: “When traveling by plane, request a special meal and always pack snacks in case of delays. If your allergies are contact-based, ask to pre-board and wipe down your seat and the one next to it.” Communicate: “Well-trained restaurant staff will be receptive to your needs and always double-check that your requests have been met.”
Have Food Allergies and Sensitivities, Will Travel
Discovering the full extent of her food sensitivities hasn’t stopped Kim Koeller, the Chicago native, from dining out in more than 25 countries, the most notable being Russia. “The approach to eating out safely is a collaborative process between guests and restaurants. When you’re eating out and traveling, there are three key things to remember: education, communication and preparation.”
Working Around Food Allergies Worldwide
“It has to be a collaborative process with hospitality and consumers. Education, communication, preparation and having an action plan if there’s an emergency are key to safe eating.” Kim Koeller points out that New Zealand and Australia are world leaders when it comes to labeling—having first instituted product labeling laws in 2002, followed by the European Union in 2005 and the US in 2006.