The Food Allergy Research & Education, FARE reports that over three million people are allergic to peanuts in the US. Children are more prone to peanut allergies than adults and therefore require more consideration during travel.
It is important to plan ahead when traveling the world if you are allergic or are in the company of someone who is allergic. Consider language barriers, popular local cuisine and access to emergency healthcare facilities during travel. Historically, peanuts are from South America. Today, they are a common delicacy across the globe. Let us examine popular destinations around the world and how friendly they are to visitors with peanut allergies.
Native English speaking destinations are low risk. This includes the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. You can easily read the ingredients on the label or menu to know if peanuts are included. In addition, it is easy to convey the nature of your allergy to restaurant staff and also avoid establishments that may pose a threat.
Europeans are not big on peanuts in their diet. Similarly, Japanese cuisine rarely involves peanuts. If you suspect peanuts are on the menu, use your translation cards to ensure you have a great experience.
South America is where you would expect to find peanuts in most meals but this is also an oddball. While it is farmed in commercial quantities, it is hardly used as an ingredient in popular cooking. Thailand is especially tourist friendly. You can find a multitude of restaurants geared towards the western traveler with low risk of exposure, save for select local cuisines.
Destinations Where Peanuts are More of a Concern
While peanuts are not part of popular culture in India, other tree nuts such as cashew nuts are common. Africa, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Over a dozen countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya have English as the official language. This removes the communication barrier and makes it easy to navigate around great cuisine. Do some research if you are headed to a non-English speaking destination.
However, if you are jetting off to Southeast Asia or China, spend an extra minute planning your trip. Do not starve or live in fear while on vacation in Southeast Asia. There are safe restaurant choices everywhere especially the large cities. Even off the beaten path, you can find restaurants where English is spoken and western meals are served.
Myanmar represents the oddball in Asia. Peanuts are farmed here and prevalent in meals. Consider using translation aids when dining here to overcome the language barrier. Similarly, rural China is also a hard nut to crack. The language barrier is huge and peanuts are used in meal preparation. You may want to keep off local delicacies, but that should not stop you from enjoying the great sights. Major cities are however low-risk as the language barrier is minimal.
A little extra thought put into the trip prep will help you avoid unpleasant experiences. Be sure to have your first-aid kit ready with the essentials to quickly take care of a reaction in case one occurs. Check out Dr. Summit Shah’s online portal or the FARE website for top tips on managing peanut allergies during travel.