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 Post subject: Our Australia experience
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
Well, we just got back from a month in Australia which was our first trip with the kids outside of North America, and needless to say, I had been a bit concerned about the 5 flights (two of which were 14 hrs), staying at 4 different places, one without a dishwasher, and what foods we would be able to find there. We ended up having a great time and only had a few minor reactions that were due to pet hair and/or a new allergy to soy for DD.

After three flights, we arrived in Perth. We brought 8 epipens on the plane with us, a huge supply of food, and I preboarded to wipe down all surfaces with baby wipes. Air Canada provided a buffer row in front and one behind where they asked people not to eat nuts/peanuts. Air New Zealand had no such written policy, but the flight attendants did mention the allergy to people near us. Because we were flying through the US, we were not able to bring many fresh foods on the plane, but made do with what was allowed, plus ate at Burger King at the LA and Auckland airports. They both had allergy charts so we knew what was safe for the kids. We had no reactions at all on the flights/airports.

They have excellent food labelling laws in Australia, so if a product doesn't list an allergen or say 'may contain', it is safe. This makes it much easier to shop for food. I also found a large supermarket chain through the Australian anaphylaxis FB page that does online orders and deliveries, plus lists the ingredients for many of the products on the website, incl may contains.

I pre-ordered groceries to be delivered at our friend's house where we were staying. They took nuts and peanuts out of their kitchen and cleaned thoroughly before we got there. We planned meals together and it worked out just fine. We also spent a week at a borrowed beach house 3hrs south of Perth, and a cabin on Rottnest Island, a 20 min ferry ride from Perth. When I got to each new destination, I wiped tables and counter tops with babywipes and re-washed clean dishes/utensils with the DW just in case something was washed by someone else by hand (or in the case of the cabin, everything had been washed by hand).

We later flew across to Sydney on Virgin Australia which requires allergy information but doesn't provide buffer rows. No issues on this flight either. We found the same great supermarket within a few blocks of our apartment, so that was great. I asked around at a few local restaurants, and found one that was allergen aware due to the chef's son having a nut/peanut allergy, and they were able to provide safe meals for the kids for our last night.

I'm happy to report that besides minor meltdowns due to lack of sleep and hunger, etc, the trip went very smoothly and we had a great time. DH wants to go back in two years to visit other parts of Australia that we didn't get to.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
glad you had a good safe time! For next time just bear in mind that our may contain laws are purely voluntary...so if its not on there it really means nothing as far as cross contamination...(it just means that they havent put a may contain warning on their package)
Alison's Mom wrote:
They have excellent food labelling laws in Australia, so if a product doesn't list an allergen or say 'may contain', it is safe.

We are in the process of rolling out VITAL (voluntary incidental trace amount labelling) http://www.allergenbureau.net/vital/vital but its not in place yet...essentially hopefully it means that next time you come if there is a may contain on something then it will give you a 'real 'idea of the risk involved.
Glad you had a good safe time!

_________________
twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
Eeeeek! Really?????? I was thrilled when I (thought I) read trace labelling was already in place. Yikes. That was not smart of me to double check and I guess we're lucky we didn't have any severe reactions :oops:

Thanks for letting me know, though, for next time!

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thought about this more and think I was told about the good labelling and then probably read something like this http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/_Do ... ochure.pdf which I thought confirmed it.

I remember that the vast majority of food we ate had a statement about 'may contains'.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
'.........Look for warning statements like “contains peanuts” or “may contain
traces of egg or egg products” on the package.
These warning statements exist to protect people with food allergies, sensitivities
or intolerances from unknowingly exposing themselves to potential health risks....'

This is probably what you were thinking of....unfortunately its not MANDATORY information and as you discovered many products have a warning on them but the risk is very difficult to assertain....some seem to have warnings just to cover their butts ie may contain peanuts when the only potential contamination is that they are stored in a factory with other products down the opposite end of the factory contain peanuts (ie the risk is tiny). Theres really no way of knowing the actual risk unless you phone and ask.

We personally eat things with may contain warnings except for those with 'made on the same equipment as' but that is a personal choice and only because our choices would be severely limited otherwise (given most of the nut'free stuff is from health food choices and they invariable contain sunflower products of some discription).

Any way....glad you had a safe time-no harm done :thumbsup

_________________
twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks caz. Yes, it's the same situation here and there are certain companies where we will eat their products with may contain on the label because I know they have strict rules to avoid cross contamination and also test each batch for traces of allergens.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Wonderful to hear you had such a good trip! :thumbsup

We would love to go to Australia and during a particularly dreary January weekend we planned a trip there just for fun. My daughter took the task seriously and checked out food allergies and thought it would be a good place to travel. Hopefully one day we can actually use the travel plans we made :happydance

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks. It really was lovely there. You should consider it if you have a chance!

I have said to DH that I will only take the kids to a few countries outside N America: Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Ireland, basically. I have to trust the food labelling, be able to read all labels, and be able to communicate effectively with any restaurant staff. Oh and it has to be a culture that understands food allergies, and not one that uses a ton of nuts or peanuts in their food, ie Thailand, etc.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
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Alison's Mom wrote:
Oh and it has to be a culture that understands food allergies, and not one that uses a ton of nuts or peanuts in their food, ie Thailand, etc.


Recently, an acquaintance allergic to peanuts travelled to Thailand. I was stunned when I heard she was going and was honestly relieved when she returned. She said it went really well. She had an allergy card in both English and Thai and that most servers spoke English. She never had a reaction in the 3 weeks!

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
Really???? Wow, I'm surprised to hear that and will rethink my Thai stereotypes! Thanks for the info.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Alison's Mom wrote:
Really???? Wow, I'm surprised to hear that and will rethink my Thai stereotypes! Thanks for the info.


I think she said that they use peanuts a lot but not peanut oil but I still would have thought cross-contamination would be an issue. Wondering if she ate a LOT of rice :thumbsup She did have curries.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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