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 Post subject: Travel to UK
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:26 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa
Hi,
We're thinking of going to the UK this spring and need some travel advice from seasoned travellers and/or UK residents with allergies. We know we have to find a villa with kitchen facilities - any suggestions? We want to spend a few days in London and a week in the Yorkshire area.

As for flights, we're in Ottawa - any suggestions (good or bad experiences with particular airlines) that you'd like to share?

And what about food labeling in the UK - we trust our labels here in Canada - is the UK system good, great or bad? What about if we want to occasionally act like a normal vacationing family and want to eat out - what are the restaurant standards like for those with food allergies? Are pub staff familiar with food allergies? Do they have binders with ingredients/allergens lists?

Any info and/or suggestions that you can provide are appreciated...I'm starting to get a little nervous about this trip and it's still only in the planning/wishing stage! :?

_________________
Sonia -mother of 2
1 son peanut/nut allergies
1 son fish/seafood allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Hi simonlittle,

I can't offer info on villas in London as I have my own place. I have researched apartments with full kitchens in Cardiff and Edinburgh but have not used them yet.

I always fly Air Canada with my peanut/nut allergic son. I call the airline so they can make a note in his file about his allergies. Then when I check in, I remind the attendant and he/she writes a little note on my son's boarding pass. He never eats airline food. We always bring our own. I have had issues in the past (not with my son present) with them serving bags of smoked almonds with the boxed lunches. I haven't seen the smoked almonds on my last several trips. I also pack a lot of dried goods in my checked suitcases, especially cereal and snacks (thank god for Dare products).

I have a note from my son's allergist stating he has an allergy and must take his Epipen on board. I have never been asked about the Epipens when going through security.

I can't advise you on the fish/seafood allergy when it comes to restaurants and grocery stores (only peanuts and tree nuts). While there are no safe restaurants, we do tend to eat out at ASK (my son loves the pizza). You can check the menu online at http://www.askrestaurants.com/askmainani.html I don't think they serve seafood. As for the pastas, stay away from anything with pesto (pine nuts... these are not "nuts" per se but can be easily contaminated with other nuts). Use the Restaurant Finder link to find a list of ASK restaurants.

Some people have recommended Pizza Express - http://www.pizzaexpress.com - but personally, I am not comfortable with the selection of nuts on the menu (Intros) so I stay away. You mentioned you will be going to the Yorkshire area. I don't know if Harrogate is on your list but the Pizza Express there is said to be allergy friendly.

I stick with Italian restaurants when eating out as they tend to use vegetable oil rather than peanut oil. Some of them do have seafood dishes so check the menu before you go.

And in a pinch, there is always MacDonald's. Not the best choice but sometimes it's easier. :D The back of the placemat has a full list of allergens.

I have never seen any restaurants in the UK with binders listing allergens. Also be aware that, particularly in London, a lot of the servers are from other EU countries, such as Poland, Italy, France... and their English may be limited when it comes to asking about allergies. Ask to speak to a manager if this happens.

There is one fantastic restaurant in London called Locanda Locatelli. It is rather pricey but worth it. The chef (Giorgio Locatelli) has a daughter with multiple food allergies. While the restaurant makes no claim to specifically cater to allergies and have nuts and seafood on the menu, it could be a good choice as it is allergy-friendly. I have been there before but not with my son (who has the allergies). It may be worth calling in advance and asking a few questions. If you are not satisfied with the info ask to speak to Giorgio. It's very popular and reservations are hard to come by, especially in the evening. Lunchtime might be a good time to try it. http://www.locandalocatelli.com

I have never eaten at pubs with my son but be aware that Thai food is standard fare at some pubs.

I can recommend some grocery stores:

The first and best choice is Waitrose. They make their own-label products and are very detailed about the ingredients and manufacturing process. They update their list every two months. I suggest emailing Customer Service one month before you leave and explain that you will be in the UK and wish to shop at their stores. Ask them to send you a list of peanut/nut-free foods (I'm not sure they have one for shellfish). Here is their allergy page:

http://www.waitrose.com/food/healthandn ... diets.aspx

Waitrose's labelling (for their own foods) is great.

Click on Branch Finder at the top of the page for the location nearest you.

Sainsbury's is another possibility. They update their lists every 6 months but I have found them slow in responding. Allergy info here:

http://tinyurl.com/35kkuu

M & S (Marks & Spencer) also has their own-label food. Info here:

List:
http://tinyurl.com/32hgsa

Allergy info: http://tinyurl.com/3bn7o8

There is also Tesco. However, they put the disclaimer and all their products so you have to decide for yourself if you want to buy the product. For example, Tesco always writes "cannot guarantee nut free" or something to that effect, even when they state the product is manufactured in a facility that does not have nuts and the recipe does not contain nuts.

You can also check the "Free From" aisle in major grocery stores but there is not much that is peanut/nut free... mostly gluten. There is a UK company that specializes in peanut/nut free foods and some of their products can be found in the "Free From" aisle at Sainsbury's and Asda (which is what Walmart is called in the UK).. http://www.itsnutfree.com/about/default.php

Bon voyage!

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:26 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa
Hi Storm,
WOW - thanks for the great advice and all your links. I will be checking those out and taking your info with me when (if) we go. It's great that you live in both Canada and the UK - sure answered a lot of my questions.

I'll probably be in touch if I have any more questions.

Thanks again. :D

_________________
Sonia -mother of 2
1 son peanut/nut allergies
1 son fish/seafood allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:55 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
Storm-I'm glad you posted, I was thinking that you probably had a lot of useful information.

Simonlittle- You may want to pm williamsmummy as she also lives in the UK.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
simonlittle wrote:
Hi Storm,
WOW - thanks for the great advice and all your links. I will be checking those out and taking your info with me when (if) we go. It's great that you live in both Canada and the UK - sure answered a lot of my questions.

I'll probably be in touch if I have any more questions.

Thanks again. :D


Glad to help. Please feel free to post here or contact me by private message if you have any more questions.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:56 am
Posts: 120
Location: UK
thanks for the e-mail. sorry its taken so long for me to reply. have had a school problems with 14 yr old, ( its a long story, he shouldnt have laughed at carpentry teacher when his glass eye fell out!!!, and add the fish in his jeans pocket and i am sooo not happy)

I think the previous posters have given good info.

There isnt much I can add, but here goes.!
I am sure the same rules apply for finding safe food outside the home for both uk and your country .

As for food labeling in general, from nov 05 labeling had to include an 'allergy box' with 12 allergens listed, this covers the whole of europe. ( your childrens allergens are included) .
Its stil advisable to read both the ingrediant listing as well as allergy box. But this has improved situations in supermakets.
There are plans to include other allergens , such as kiwi.
its also worth noting that legaly the 'may contain' label is now used when there is a real risk of cross contaimination. This has been pushed forward to reduce the amount of manufactuers trying to simply 'cover their backs' just in case.
This is still new, so as at home , read those labels!



Please relax , and be assured that from a self catering point of view you will find safe food for your children. Its also possible to eat , even if its macdonalds! ( which we use if we cant find a nicer place we get good vibes from)

I dont have much idea about candy /sweet treats are like in Canada, but from comparing what I found in the USA last summer, I can say that allergic children in the UK have more choice in this area.

let your children enjoy the following,

cadburys milk and white chocolate buttons,
smarties
fruit pastiles
jelly tots
yorkie chocolate bars
kinnerton chocolate ( kinnerton make lots of chocolate and safe treats in marks and spencer)
malteasers
kit kat chunky
penguin chocolate bars
fabulous bakin boys cakes and flapjacks

and a few more that I cant remember at the moment.


As for resturants, the sweet course is most likley to contain nut traces, so we often buy a supply of these to give our son instead.

Over the years we have tried 'chain' type pub resturants, and they havent improved over the years.
However , the golden rule is always to ask early , about allergies in food, and perhaps ask for a list.
We have been in these places before , and had a good time , and even with a list someitmes we have left. because we didnt get good vibes.

I would suggest that you go early, being one of the first customers ensures full staff attention , as well as a clean kitchen to lesson chance of cross contamintation.
This is a good rule whatever the country you are in.

we always order plain boring food for our allergic child.
steak, plain cheese and tomato pizza , Roast dinners. Food that is clearly visable on the plate is our aim. Nothing with sauce covering it!

We have enjoyed sunday roast lunches in pubs with the children, avoiding the chain pubs, and finding a nice old country pub, with the landlady making everything from scratch. ( roast beef and yorkshire pud has got to be eaten before you go home)

The same can be said of individual italian restuarants, someone mentioned pizza express, and yes we have gone there. But have noticed that nuts are entering the building via salads etc.
But I think you can only guess if your comfort level is ok with this when you get here.
I dont have to deal with the fish /shell fish aspect of resturant life.
Which may make some independant resturants more of a risk.

On the plus side, when in london, missing the jellied eels is not a hardship........................truly disgusting!!

There are plenty of resturants in london to walk around and ask, feel safe in finding one you feel comfortable in, so walk out if you dont!
Hotels will also accomodate you if contacted in advance.

I cant remember if anyone was egg allergic? if not , its worth considering a english breaskfast type of meal, bacon, sausage, baked beans , black pudding, etc
can be ok.

I do have a list somewhere with resturants , when i find it I will post a few places.
The locatelli chap is a top resturant and will need booking months in advance ( last I heard anyway)

I am sure you will have a wonderful time.

A couple of years ago someone asked me to support their son, who was going to uni in scotland, this young man was from USA. He reported back that living with nut/peanut/fish allergies was easier in Scotland and England than in the UK.

I hope that you find this is the case as well.

please feel free to ask any more questions if you want.

sarah


I have only once seen loose peanuts in a bar/pub in london.
Other than that have only seen individual small packets sold in them.
One of the joys of summer is finding a nice family freindly pub with a garden.
This again cuts down on this risk.
( hope weather is better than last year!!)


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 Post subject: travel to UK
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:26 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa
Thanks, Sarah (aka Williamsmummy)
These posting, yours & Storm's, are making me feel a lot better about planning this trip to the UK. Sounds like the kids can pretty well eat like we eat here, with a few English treats thrown in! Living with allergies in Canada, we have the same rules - ask questions and read labels all the time...guess that applies to any country!

Now, if you can only find us a cheap flight and accommodations, we'll be all set. And can you guarantee sunny weather in May! And I think we won't mind staying away from the "jellied eels" :wink:

Seriously, thanks for the info.

Sonia

_________________
Sonia -mother of 2
1 son peanut/nut allergies
1 son fish/seafood allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Sonia - I actually have an aunt and uncle (friends of family) who live in Yorkshire. If you really want to look into a self-catering villa, let me know and they might be able to help you find something.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:40 am
Posts: 50
Location: Victoria
The cheapest flight we've ever taken to the UK was with Thomas Cook and they handled allergies better than any of the flights we've been on. They were quite insistent on the flight that no one ate anything with nuts or peanuts and were helpful finding alternatives for our daughter.

We did rent an apartment in London. I'll look for the information. It was great for cooking our own meals.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:37 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Ottawa
Lots of great information from others here already, but for a cool place to stay in the UK, check out the landmark trust properties. They are a charity that restores old buildings and rents them out: http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/

Self-catering is a good search term as its how the Brits describe places with kitchens. There are lots of cottages in the countryside as well as apartments and flats in the cities to choose from.

I would recommend cooking most of your own food when you can and bringing snacks with you to limit how often you eat out.

Scott

_________________
9 yr old daughter - no allergies
7 yr old daughter - allergic to peanuts, nuts, sesame, kiwi, soy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:26 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa
Thanks to everyone for their great ideas and hints about traveling to the UK. I'm taking all your helpful hints with us. We head off in a couple of weeks; I'll let you know how it was when we return.

Sonia :)

_________________
Sonia -mother of 2
1 son peanut/nut allergies
1 son fish/seafood allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:50 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
I hope you have a great time!

Please let us know how you made out, what you learned etc.

:D

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Just following up on this... it would be useful to have some feedback. :D

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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