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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:13 am
Posts: 3
Hi!

I'm a 20 year old University Student who would absolutely love to go to Japan for a year and teach english. However I feel extremely uneasy about living in any Asian country as I have a life threatening peanut allergy. So I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with Japan and what it is like in terms of awareness etc with peanut allergies. In Canada I guess we are pretty privileged with the current rising awareness of food allergies in general and the growing caution that society is beginning to take, but I have no clue what it is like in Japan. I've asked a few people who've lived there but none of them have allergies, and as I'm sure you can all bear witness to: nobody really appreciates how easy or difficult an allergy is to live with in a place other than those with them!

So please, any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:56 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
I do know of a few people with a peanut allergy that have travelled to Asia. I posted a link to this question on the peanut allergy web-site. (Maybe they can come here and offer some assistance. :)

The only thing I do remember reading is that in some countries you cannot buy an epi-pen so you would have to stock up and make sure they won't expire while you are over there.

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:21 pm
Posts: 78
Location: Connecticut, USA
I think awareness is increasing in japan but I would be very careful. I don't know about labeling laws now but back when I was there I would often buy things that obviously contained ingredients in them that weren't listed on the label (and I could read Japanese.) Also, I'm a vegetarian and when I ordered my food I would ask them to leave out the meats, etc and had *many*, *many* experiences where people did not leave out the meat or "just put in a little bit", etc. That would make me very concerned about eating there as a peanut-allergic person.

That said, there is someone at kidswithfoodallergies.org who has family from Japan and they took their child there who, if memory serves me, has a peanut allergy. I am not sure how they managed but they had the advantage of having family who could research safe food for them *in Japanese*. Do you speak Japanese?

I did a google search on food allergies and Japan and I"m sure there is increasing awareness now as there are many more people with food allergies. I'm not sure peanut is in their most common allergens or not. Rice is big there, I know that. Maybe you can contact a food allergy organization in japan to get info. If you do go there it would be best if you had a place yourself where you could cook your own food.

I had a great time living in Japan. I hope you can somehow make your goal com true, too. Good luck!

Maybe this organizatino might be able to put you in contact with a group in Japan.

http://www.foodallergyalliance.org/mda.html

Oh, another *great* idea is finding a peanut-allergic Japanese family. If you find a family there that had peanut-allergy issues you might be able to stay with them. many foreigners stay with host families in Japan and the families love it because they get to learn English from their guest.

Also, this guy has a website that includes a page of food allergy resources/groups. Maybe he could give you some info if you contacted him. http://www.pharm.okayama-u.ac.jp/user/mio/index.html (He is Japanese.)

Here is another interesting article on food allergies in Japan.

http://web-japan.org/trends98/honbun/ntj970916.html

Here is one more link to a google page where you can see half-way down the page (actually 3rd from bottom) a link to a PDF document from the japanese government. It is written in Japanese but has an email address at the end. You might be able to contact someone at that email address. Here is the link
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=ja ... tnG=Search


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:13 am
Posts: 3
thank you guys! I'll follow up on some of this information and see what I find out. If I find anything useful I'll definately post it so other people can know as well.


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 Post subject: In japan right now!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:44 am
Posts: 3
This is my first time using such a forum and this is great! We have been travelling in Japan for 1 month now and have been eating out alot. My son is 10 and allergic to peanuts, cashews, and hazelnuts (for sure). My Japanese father in law is travelling with us (wouldn't have thought to do this without knowing Japanese) but we have encountered the same response every restaurant; they don't touch peanuts! ie no peanut flour/oil. In fact one restaurant claimed that to handle peanuts they had to have a special license. It seems they use very few nuts of any kind as I haven't seen them sold in grocery stores or kiosks (except bagged with shells or already shelled for snacks even then seldom). I have not seen any nuts shown in the noodle shop display windows. We have stuck to small operations where they make all their own food. My son has eaten sweets and even ice cream (soft cream) and we have checked several vendors. The answer is always the same; no problem. I checked Japan's labelling laws and my search showed they are required to list 5 allergens, peanuts was one but other nuts were not. I don't believe they have any requirement to list "may contain". I subscribe to CFIA (canadian food inspection agency) list serve for food alerts and there have been a FEW japanese products recalled. But, by far and away the vast majority are from China! I believe their regulation is poor. In my estimation, Japan seems to understand peanut allergy and uses few if any nuts of any kind.


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