- Traveling With a Food Allergy? Check Out These Four Apps
- Four Apps to Help You Travel with Food Allergies
- Best for Up-to-Date Results: AllergyEats
- Best for an Allergy-Friendly Digital Community: Spokin
- Best for Buying Unfamiliar Foods: ipiitt
- Best for International Travel: Allergy Food Translator
- Allergy Cards and Communicating Allergies in Different Languages
- Translate Allergy Apps
- Allergen and Language Posts
- Our Travel Guide: Planning Ahead
- Plan Ahead
- Do Your Research
- Travelling with Allergies (& Dietary Requirements)
- What’s an Allergy Card? This is
- How to Buy Allergy Translation Cards for Travel and to Eat Safely
- Translation Cards for Food & Drug allergies, Special Diets and Medical Needs
Traveling With a Food Allergy? Check Out These Four Apps
If you have a food allergy, you know how difficult it can be to navigate daily eating without inadvertently consuming something that will cause a reaction.
If you're planning to travel, however, this can create an even bigger challenge, as you won’t have access to the stores and restaurants with which you’re already familiar.
Luckily, there are a few apps that want to make traveling and food allergies compatible.
Gluten Free Rolls on Swiss Airlines
Four Apps to Help You Travel with Food Allergies
It’s estimated that as many as 15 million Americans are living with food allergies today. The most reactive foods – known as the “big eight” – are milk, peanuts, wheat (gluten), eggs, tree nuts, fish, soy, and shellfish. Reactions can range from mild digestive discomfort and headaches to hives and anaphylactic shock, and everything in between.
Regardless of which food allergy you have, and how you react to an exposure, you probably go to great lengths to avoid the food culprits. So, what do you do when you are traveling, staying in a hotel and ly eating out at restaurants with family or coworkers?
Here arefour convenient apps that will tell you what and where you’re safe to eat, while still avoiding your food allergy.
Best for Up-to-Date Results: AllergyEats
AllergyEats is one of the most popular restaurant apps around when it comes to avoiding food allergies. It is crowd supported, meaning that it is constantly evolving and growing thanks to users’ feedback and ratings. This also ensures that the app is up to date, no matter where you travel, and has firsthand reviews of others’ experiences.
The app is available in both the App Store and from Google Play, and you can also visit them at allergyeats.com to use the desktop version. You can search for restaurants in an area allergy needs, can look at specific restaurants, and there’s even a guide to avoiding food allergies at Disney!
Best for an Allergy-Friendly Digital Community: Spokin
If you’re looking for more than just a restaurant dining experience, and need to avoid food allergies, the Spokin app is perfect for you.
Available in the App Store, the clean interface makes it easy to search restaurants, hotels, summer camps, specific food products, and more, in order to find an allergy-safe meal. Not only that, but the app also curates a news feed for you your allergy preferences, location, and personal interests.
The app is great for day-to-day use in your hometown. It allows you to build relationships with other users on the platform (you can even “follow” one another) and build a news feed that pertains to your daily life. However, by simply changing your current location within the app, you can explore new restaurants and other dining options while traveling.
Best for Buying Unfamiliar Foods: ipiitt
Traveling to a new place that may have unfamiliar fare? Simply want to branch out from the norm a bit? Well, the ipiit app can help you do both safely.
ipiit is available for both iPhone and Android devices, with a straightforward user interface. You simply need to enter your allergy preferences into the app, then scan barcodes on food products.
You’ll get an easy-to-interpret, immediate answer as to whether or not it’s safe to eat.
If it’s not, the app will also offer safe alternatives, making meal planning and trying new foods safe, easy, and quick.
Best for International Travel: Allergy Food Translator
Whether you’re traveling stateside or overseas, you’ll need to ensure that you eat foods that are safe for your allergy. That’s where the Allergy Food Translator (FT) app comes into play. It makes safe food choices easy, even when going abroad, where communication with restaurant staff might be difficult.
While the big eight are the most common, there are actually as many as 86 possible food allergies. The Allergy FT app takes all of them into account.
You create a profile for each member of your family, including any foods that they need to avoid. Then, the app will translate your allergies into French, German, or Spanish.
This makes it easy to communicate to others that you need to avoid certain food. (More languages are in the works, too.)
If you’re worried about using service while traveling, don’t be. Allergy FT’s translations are built into the app, so you don’t even need to access the internet to use it.
Living with a food allergy, even a minor one, can be difficult. Traveling with a food allergy can feel nearly impossible sometimes. Luckily, there are a number of apps available today that can make eating out, buying new foods, and even communicating in another language both easy and safe.
Allergy Cards and Communicating Allergies in Different Languages
Allergy Cards From Brokerfish Allergy cards when you are eating out to avoid eating ingredients that you should not. Download 8 different allergy cards in 6 different languages FREE!
Create your free allergy travel card
Food Allergy Translate
Choose your Food Allergy Translate Card!
AAFA Alaska Chapter
Student Asthma Action Card, Student Anaphylaxs Action Form, Quick Allergy Cards, Quick Asma Cards, Quick Report Cards
KillerPeanut.com provides a free translation service for people with food allergies. Tell us your food allergies and desired language translation and we will provide you with an allergy emergency card and helpful translations for restaurants, doctors and airport security.
From Allergy Free Table Choose from one of our eleven completed Chef Cards, or start with a blank card and customize to your specific food allergies
Corn Wallet Cards
Free download from Live Corn Free, Card containing a list of ingredients commonly derived from corn.
Free to print, allergy posters, many can also be used as allergy cards.
Dedicated to travellers with food allergies. This resource is for those who want to make sure that restaurants, hotels etc. understand their allergies everywhere in the world. Users can create and print their customized food allergy card in the language they need.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) created the SafeFARE program to give you the tools you need to enjoy eating out with family and friends.
Printable cards for communicating dietary restrictions in Japan
Translate Allergy Apps
Allergy FT Allergy FT: Food Allergy APP
Food Allergy Translate
Download the Food Allergy Translate application to your mobile device for better communication in a foreign restaurant.
Food Allergy Translate Reduce your risk of food allergy reactions by using your Food Allergy Translate Card too. Chef cards for sale in printed and digital formats.
Personalized options also available in digital download
Medical Translation Cards Translating your own or your child�s medical condition into 7 different languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Greek and French) these cards are a must for use at home and when travelling abroad.
Food Allergy Apprentice Having a peanut allergy you must be alert of your surroundings at all times especially when eating in public. The No Peanut cards were created to give out to alert the server and chef of your food allergy.
Don't Limit Your adventure
Dietary Card Using a Dietary Alert Card in English or 17 other languages to order meals in the UK or abroad
International Dietary Alert Cards.
A very helpful little card for people who suffer from adverse food reactions.� Recipient of the ECARF Quality Seal.
Gluten Free Dining Cards
Food Allergy Restaurant Cards
Cards From Achoo Allergy
Select's mission is to empower individuals with food allergies and specialized diets to safely dine outside the home, travel and explore the world.
Allergen and Language Posts
Nut Free Wok
Food Allergies 101 Latin Names For Food Trip Base
How to Say I'm Allergic to peanuts in 45 Languages
Walking on Travels
Translating Food Allergies
How to say allergic and allergy in ASL (American Sign Language):
Allergen (same as allergic reaction)
Thanks Erica from Corn Free Lifestyle for the above links.
Our Travel Guide: Planning Ahead
Serious food allergies are challenging enough, but when you hit the road, they can get even trickier. One study showed that the majority of allergic travelers stick closer to home, and even avoid travel by air or boat because of their conditions.
Still, food allergies shouldn’t stop travelers from getting out and exploring the world, because with a few precautions and a little planning, you can make sure that Spanish sojourn or that surf trip to Maui leaves you with nothing but happy holiday memories.
Avoid locations that are allergen-heavy. If you’re allergic to peanuts and shellfish, a small seaside village in Thailand may not be the most relaxing location for your holiday, and Maine during the lobster harvest may make for extra headaches.
Still, most locations can be adapted to suit your needs, so don’t limit yourself too much. Just make sure to choose locations where medical help is readily available.
Get refills of your medication. In some countries, finding allergy and asthma medications can be difficult or costly, so make sure to bring them with you and have extra doses on hand. If you already have the medications, double check their expiry dates to make sure they are still current.
Air Travel & Allergies: 8 Factors That May Reduce the Risk
Get a doctor’s note. In some countries, airports may not allow allergic travelers through security with their epinephrine auto-injectors unless they have a note from their doctor saying they must travel with them.
(This may even happen in North American airports.) If you’re tight on time and can’t get in to see your doctor, try a walk-in clinic. Also make sure to find out what products they do and don’t allow in your carry-on or checked luggage.
Get translation cards. If you are going to a country where you don’t speak the language, make sure to get a translation card that clearly explains what you are allergic to, what happens if you encounter that allergen, and what treatment you require – then show it to your hosts, waiters, and anyone else who provides you with food.
If even small quantities of the allergen can land you in hot water, make sure the card says that even trace amounts on cutting boards, pots and cooking utensils can be dangerous.
There are several translation card companies to choose from, including Select Wisely and Allergy Translation, and they can make cards in hundreds of languages.
You might want to order at least two copies in case one gets lost; just remember to order well in advance of your trip, because they can take weeks to arrive.
Contact the airline. If your trip involves a flight, make sure to fly with an airline that has a good allergy policy. Then call the airline well in advance of your trip and let them know about your allergies.
If you have a life-threatening allergy, ask them not to serve that food on your flight. You can also request that they make an announcement asking your fellow passengers to do the same, but some will comply and some won’t. Same goes with trains or buses – contact them in advance and find out what their policies are before you buy your ticket.
Book accommodation with a kitchen. If you or your child are traveling with serious food allergies, a hotel room or vacation apartment with a kitchen can be a life-saver. That way, you can cook your own meals and you know they’ll be safe.
Allergy-Friendly Hotel Accommodations
But don’t let your cooking keep you cooped up in that apartment; pack up your meals and take them with you to the beach, to a park, to the steps of a museum, etc. And when you book, don’t forget to tell the agent about your allergies so it’s on your file.
Buy health insurance. You’ll want to have insurance coverage in the event of an emergency. Just make sure to ask plenty of questions and read the fine print, because some insurance providers won’t cover you if you have a pre-existing condition, or will only pay long after you’ve checked the hospital.
Plan a range of activities. By default, travel often centers around food – so if you don’t want to fuss over your allergies, plan lots of activities that don’t involve food. A day at the beach, a wander through the local museum, or guided tours can be great ways to enjoy your new locale – without having to worry about reacting.
Do Your Research
Find medical facilities. Hopefully you won’t need them, but it’s important to find out what medical services exist in and around your destination. If you’re heading to a smaller town or city, you may want to contact the medical facilities in advance to let them know you’ll be in town.
Research the food labeling. Different countries have different food labeling systems, so you want to know how they work – and how accurate they are – before you go. For example, some countries provide warnings such as “may contain traces”, but others do not; still others use numeric codes.
Always be aware of all of the different names for the foods you are allergic to, and wherever possible, stick with unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, rice, and meats.
Source products. If there are certain products that you rely on at home, don’t expect to find them in other cities and countries. Find stores that stock what you need before you go, or plan to bring some of your favorite products along.
Connect with local allergy organizations. Almost every city has an asthma and allergy organization; call or email them in advance and ask them for hotel, grocery store, restaurant and activity recommendations.
Find out what’s on the menu. If you’re going to any catered events such as weddings and conferences, find out who the caterer is and talk to them about what they’re whipping up.
Most of them are accustomed to dealing with allergies, and can even adjust their recipes to make the event safer for you.
If you’re traveling on business, make sure to talk with the person who is booking the meals.
Be prepared for an emergency. Remember that many countries are not on the 911 system. Find out how to call for help if you need it – before you arrive.
Travelling with Allergies (& Dietary Requirements)
No, we’re not just talking fussy eating here.
If you or anyone in your family has Crohne’s disease, is celiac or has an allergy to nuts, for example, watching what you eat while on holidays can literally save your life.
Kim Koeller, President and CEO of Gluten Free Passport tells suitcases&strollers about how to travel safely with kids with allergies and dietary restrictions.
Is it safe to travel with kids who have severe allergiesor medical conditions that restrict their diet?
It is safe to travel, however,managing an allergy-free diet increases the level of complexity involved inordering meals outside the home and travelling in general. [Travelling with aspecial diet affects every part of the experience from] airlines, snacks andrestaurants to hotels, cruises and foreign language phrases.
You also need to understandwhat ingredients and food preparation techniques are safe, what questions toask the staff and what modifications can be made to easily accommodate specificdietary requirements.
Follow these three steps:Education, preparation and communication. Educate yourself about your travel,eating out options and ethnic restaurant meal preparation.
To be confident andsafe, arm yourself with information about how dishes are prepared, whatingredients are used and where hidden allergens may be found.
Prepare yourselfwith special airline meals, snacks and medications as well as back-up plans inthe event of a mistake, accident or emergency. Communicate your special dietaryrequirements effectively with airlines, restaurants and hospitalityprofessionals as needed.
What are your top tips for flying with allergies?
- Book a special meal. For longer flights, order and reconfirm your airplane meals in advance based upon standard airline codes – GFML for gluten free meals, NLML for non-lactose meals, PFML for peanut free meals and even DBML for diabetic meals.
- BYO snacks. Pack your own carry-on snacks keeping in mind airport security regulations. Bring enough food to get your child to your destination and for your excursions throughout your trip. For example, if you’re flying eight hours take two to three meals worth of food including protein and carbohydrates, in case of delays. These foods may range from those that require no preparation (such as protein bars, cookies and fruit) to hot water preparation (such as dried soups) to foods requiring a small cooler (such as dips and vegetables). Upon arrival, remember to discard any food that is not pre-packaged prior to entering customs.
- Carry your medication onboard. In case of anaphylaxis and an emergency, carry medications, including several epinephrine auto-injectors, such as EpiPen or Twinject, and any other related medicines. Make sure the medications and snacks are with you at all times for easy access and not stored in the overhead bin in case of turbulence.
- Take extra care if flying with anaphylaxis [serious allergies]. Significant care and caution are critical to managing anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. To minimise risk and ensure a safe journey, review the in-flight food options, emergency protocol and allergy policy prior to booking your flight. Notify the airline representative about the severity of your child’s allergies and ideally, book the first nonstop flight of the day. Request that you can pre-board to sterilise all surfaces as required and communicate your needs to the flight attendants.
Is it safe to eat in restaurants with kids who havesevere allergies or medical conditions that restrict their diet?
It can be safe to eat insome restaurants depending upon your comfort level, knowledge of specific ethniccuisines and kids’ allergies or medical condition. However, we do not recommendthat you buy food from any street stall if your child has anaphylaxis.
There may also be times whenit is easier to bring your own food with you when travelling depending upon thetype of restaurant and the level of awareness of the desired restaurant. Pre-planningis required to determine the best approach for that specific situation.
My child has a severe, life-threatening allergy topeanuts but we want to travel to Thailand (or any other non English-speakingcountry). How can I ensure that she will be protected in situations where thestaff may not speak English?
We created free cheftranslation cards for safe allergy free dining in various languages, asdownloadable pocket-size paper cards from www.AllergyFreePassport.com andmobile Apple & Android apps for global travel.
Unfortunately, we currentlydo not offer these free cards in the Thai language. Therefore, we recommend thatyou purchase a Thai allergy translation card from Allergy Translation.
Once in Thailand, you can present this to the wait staff and/or chef at yourrestaurant.
It may also be helpful to print extra copies in the event that therestaurant staff or chef wants to keep them for future reference.
You also need learn tonavigate a Thai restaurant menu and communicate the right questions and answers common culinary practices.
We would highly recommendthat you are also aware of other terms including peanut oil (also known asarachis oil in Europe) which is commonly used for frying in Asian, Indian,French and French-influenced cuisines.
In addition, other names for peanutsinclude: beer nuts, cacahouéte, cacahouette, cacahuéte, earth nuts, goober nuts,ground nuts, mandelonas and valencias. Allergy specialists often advisepeanut-allergic individuals to also avoid tree nuts.
Those allergic to peanuts mayalso react to lupin (such as lupin flour and lupini beans).
How can I be sure that the food preparation standardsin a foreign restaurant are adequate to suit my child’s severe allergies?
First, inform the restaurantwait staff of your food concern and allergy (e.g. I’m allergic to peanuts).Then, instead of simply asking, “Is this dish peanut free?” you need to askquestions ingredients and food preparation in restaurant languageterms.
For example, for a peanutallergy, sample questions may be:
- Are your French fries fried in peanut oil?
- Are your mashed potatoes real or artificial?
- Is this dish garnished with peanuts?
- Does the ice cream container label identify peanuts as ingredients. Is it manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts?
Even though more restaurantsaround the world are becoming more aware of allergies, it is still critical tounderstand ingredients and how food is prepared to ensure safe mealseverywhere.
How can the Allergy Free Passport help?
Our Let’s Eat Out series of books, ebooks and mobile apps empowerspeople with the necessary knowledge required to eat out, travel and explore theworld. Too often, people feel theyhave to be prisoners in their own home and experience social isolation as aresult of their dietary requirements.
Knowledge is power. The moreyou know about ingredients and food preparation, the easier it is to dine outsafely.
Moreover, asking questions about specific ingredients and culinarypreparation techniques puts the control back in your hands as a diner.
Our Let’s Eat Out resources provide menuitem descriptions so you know what is in each dish and what specific questionsyou need to ask on an allergen-by-allergen basis.
We spent over six yearsresearching and writing the Let’s Eat Outseries. We reviewed thousands of recipes across the globe to determineingredients and food preparation techniques. We incorporated personalexperiences and feedback from over 50 focus group members into the series.
The cuisine passports arealso based upon the content from our Let’sEat Out books and offer expert advice in small convenient sizes whichallows easy carrying in your backpack, purse, briefcase or jacket pocket.
Wealso created the Multi-Lingual Phrase Passport which provides over 1,200translations critical for international travel while managing special diets.
Thephrases include translations from the English language to French, German,Italian and Spanish to assist while visiting foreign speakingcountries.
Tell us a bit about the App. What is the differencebetween the App and the passports?
Allergy Free Passport is thecreator of 10 mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. We created these appsfor individuals and businesses to have instant access to “cuisine-specific”gluten and allergen-free options, meal choices, ingredients and resources attheir fingertips.
[There are some] mobile appswhich are the Let’s Eat Outbooks (such as iEatOut Gluten and Allergy Free (Apple), Gluten Free EthnicMeals (Android), Allergy Free Ethnic Meals (Android) and Mangeons Sans Gluten (Appleand Android in the French language)).
The iCanEatOnTheGo app showsyou what you can eat in US fast food chains based upon the top 8 allergens aswell as gluten. We also have location-specific apps including Gluten FreeDisney and Allergy Free Orlando, Gluten Free Pizza and Vegan Pizza and GlutenFree Chicago Restaurants.
For travel concerns, theGluten Free and Allergy Free Travel Checklists mobile app details advice aboutairline meals, snacks, hotels, cruises and even flying with anaphylaxis. If youare traveling to a foreign-speaking country, download our free app Gluten Freeand Allergy Free Travel Translation Cards which provides help in 13 differentlanguages.
My son has G6PD, so he has very specific dietaryrequirements. Can I rely on the ingredients labels of pre-packaged foods inforeign countries?
In recent years, variousgeographic regions have instituted mandatory product labeling regulations andvoluntary guidelines for manufacturers.
These regulations encompass variouscombinations of food allergens such as celery, dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, milk,mustard, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, soy, sulfites, tree nuts and wheat to namea few.
These food allergens and their derivatives are considered responsiblefor over 90% of allergic reactions on a worldwide basis.
[Still], thevariances in labeling, I believe that it is best to avoid pre-packaged foodsaltogether when travelling in foreign countries.
[For example,] since yourson has G6PD, I’m not sure if sulfites are one of his triggers. If so, sulfites,spelled sulphites in parts of the world, are included in the labeling laws inAustralia, New Zealand and the European Union. Sulfites, however, are NOTincluded in the US labeling regulations.
What should families with allergies carry in their emergencytravel medical kit?
You need to make sure youprepare yourself with medications as well as back-up plans in the event of amistake, accident or emergency.
Consider what medications,supplements, herbs and other health remedies you use at home for your childwhen they have an adverse food reaction. Try to duplicate these same items inyour emergency medical kit when travelling.
For example, since I do not haveanaphylaxis, I do not need epinephrine auto-injectors.
However, in my personalemergency medical kit my food allergy symptoms, I always carry anantihistamine, antacids and aloe vera for stomach upset, digestive aids, bathsalts and analgesic ointment in the case of an adverse food reaction.
In the case of anaphylaxisand an emergency carry the medications including several epinephrineauto-injectors, such as EpiPen or Twinject, Benadryl, and any other relatedmedicines.
To be super safe when travelling with kids with allergies and dietary restrictions, it's worthwhile packing some travel-friendly foods with you. For some ideas, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
For more travel tips on general healthy eating for kids, see the suitcases&strollers interview with a nutritionist here.
What’s an Allergy Card? This is
There are a few ways to alleviate some of the travel concern both for the allergic traveler and for the allergic traveler’s parents.
In my opinion, the easiest way to minimize that concern is by using allergy cards.
What’s an allergy card?
Great question, astute reader.
An allergy card is something that fits into your wallet, purse, backpack, or pocket that you can show anyone handling your food. Whether that is your waiter, chef, street food cook, friendly aisle goer at the market, concierge, physician, or anyone really. These cards might just become your best friend.
I to carry both translation cards for the countries I’ll be traveling to and image cards. The reason for this is because of literacy. You might not know the real literacy rate of the people in the places you’re traveling to before you get there. That’s why I think it’s best to be prepared for both a literate and illiterate scenario.
By showing a photo of your allergen along with a written alert, you are more ly to ensure a more complete and safer communication.
Remember to carry two copies of your cards. That way if you lose one, you’ll still have a backup handy!
Here are three companies that provide allergy cards:
Allergy Translation offers cards in 43 languages. While their translations are generally set, you can customize which allergens you want added onto your cards and get them delivered right to your inbox. That means as soon as you pay your $8/card, you will be able to print out and laminate as many as you want. They also have free printable picture cards.
Select Wisely offers cards and translations in more than 60 languages. That means that if your specific allergen isn’t offered in one of their prepared cards, you can order a tailored translation for your needs. Very important for those allergic travelers with specific needs. They also provide translated doctor’s letters for auto-injectors.
Dietary Card offers four categories of translation cards: food intolerance/sensitivity cards, gluten-free/ celiac cards, life-threatening food allergy cards, and no nuts cards. They will deliver cards by mail in their standard or customized translations. They offer these translations in 18 different languages.
And don’t forget to do your research! If you’re traveling, for example, to Northern Vietnam, you might want to carry both Vietnamese and Chinese cards as some people in the north speak Chinese.
Also, if you know your general destinations before you fly, look up the local hospitals and applicable phone numbers. Keep that information handy as well.
Make sure to consider little things that before you travel.
And of course I would be neglecting my inner voice if I didn’t say this:
No matter the severity of your allergy, always pay attention to where you are and listen to your gut instinct. If you show your card to the chef and something doesn’t feel quite right, walk away!
It’s ok to say thanks, but no thanks and move right along. Nothing is more important than your health – especially while traveling.
How to Buy Allergy Translation Cards for Travel and to Eat Safely
Hero Images / Getty Images
If you have food allergies and you're planning to travel to a country where you don't speak the language, you may want to consider packing an allergy translation card to help you communicate with staff members at restaurants, cafes, and hotels.
An allergy translation card is a credit card-sized document that you can give to waiters, concierges, physicians, and other people who may be in a position to help you with food service needs while you're traveling abroad.
Allergy translation cards indicate your allergy needs in the language and dialect of the region you'll be traveling in. Typically, these cards will state that you're allergic to a particular type of food or ingredient.
The more elaborate allergy translation cards available also may list ingredients and dishes that typically contain your allergen, and may list potential substitutes that a chef could use to prepare a meal without your allergen.
A small cottage industry has sprung up in translation cards, with prices ranging from free to around $8 to $10. Here are some features to look for and issues to consider:
- Cards should indicate all of your dietary needs and should mention the possibility of cross-contamination, ideally recommending that completely clean utensils, pans, and cutting boards be used for your food (since it will be difficult for you to clarify your needs with the kitchen, especially if the restaurant staff speak a different language).
- Cover your bases. Make sure you have at least two copies of your card (in case of loss or in case you accidentally leave one in your hotel room). If you're flying through a country in which you're not fluent in the local language en route to your final destination, consider buying one for the language of your stopover city in case your flight is delayed, especially since these cards are inexpensive and portable.
- If you're ordering a card that needs to be delivered, be sure to order early enough to check for completeness. Many cards can be ordered via PayPal or credit card and printed on your computer. Consider laminating cards you print yourself for durability or backing them with cardstock.
Here are three companies that offer allergy translation cards, along with some of the features of each. You'll find that most languages and diets are already represented by these companies, and two of them (Select Wisely and Dietary Card) offer custom translation services.
- Select Wisely offers cards in over 25 languages and for over 40 foods, including the eight most common food allergens, plus other relatively common allergens MSG, alcohol, corn, rice, gluten, mushrooms, onions, and peas. Their cards are simplicity and brevity. They offer a “strongly worded” allergy card stating that your allergies are severe enough to require emergency services should you eat a trace of your allergen. They can also create special orders for unusual languages or diets.
- Dietary Card is a UK-based company that specializes in translations into EU languages, although they do offer translations into several East-Asian languages. They offer cards for nut allergies and celiac disease as well as custom translations for virtually any allergy or food sensitivity including combinations of restricted diets. These cards are delivered by mail, rather than printed from a computer.
- Allergy Translation offers cards in 21 languages for 175 allergens (although this counts each nut and type of fish as a different allergen). In addition to the “big eight” allergens, they offer cards for caffeine, many grains, many spices, animal products, and quite a few religious and medical diets. The cost of these cards is $8, but that price allows you to print an unlimited number of cards from your computer.
Allergy translation cards can mean the difference between a fabulous trip marked by delicious, allergen-free food and a miserable journey marred by constant allergic reactions (and potentially more serious symptoms that require medical attention).
Fortunately, allergy translation cards are available in the languages spoken for most travel destinations.
However, if your dietary needs can't be met by any of these companies and you would still a portable card, consider contacting the nearest major university or a local translation firm to inquire about hiring a professor, graduate student, or professional translator to create a custom translation for you.
Thanks for your feedback!
What are your concerns?
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What you need to know about food allergies. Updated September 26, 2018.
- Food Allergy Research & Education. Traveling with Food Allergy fact sheet.
Translation Cards for Food & Drug allergies, Special Diets and Medical Needs
Your food allergy cards have set my mind at ease when ordering in restaurants in Europe. The first time I ordered and used your peanuts and shellfish food allergy and medicine allergy cards was 2010 when my husband and I traveled to Italy.
I also used your food allergy cards in 2014 while vacationing in France, Germany and Switzerland and even brought my French translation cards with me when we traveled in Canada. Fortunately, I've never had to use the cards that explain my husband's penicillin allergy but I'm glad I travel with them.
I'm happy I ordered new cards for my trip this spring to countries in Eastern Europe. I love that your allergy cards are sturdy, plastic and fit nicely in my wallet. …
– Ellie in Michigan
I want to send you some feedback and thanks! We had a business/vacation trip to Germany in April, with our 2 year old who has peanut allergies. While we attempted to speak German when possible (we really don't know it), the food allergy cards were very handy.
When the waiters didn't understand our German, we gave them the chef card and they easily helped us determine any peanut issues. Your cards allowed me to relax and feel confident that my child was eating safe foods in a country where I didn't know the language.
Thanks so much!! …
– Tracie in North Carolina
Just wanted to let you know your food allergy translation cards were great for travelling in Hong Kong and Thailand. With a severe MSG food allergy (plus other food allergies) I wondered about the wisdom of travelling to Asia, but I had two weeks away and not one food problem.
The great benefit was being able to tell the waiter to show the chef the food allergy card. Often the waiter would say, “Can do – without” But I would insist they show the chef the card, then the waiter would come back with a different story.
They were then very concerned and kept checking that I would only eat from the 'safe' dishes. …
– Judy in Sydney, Australia
We wanted to let you know how grateful we were to have my husband's food allergies translated into Spanish and Italian. We used your Italian food allergy cards constantly on our trip, as there were numerous occasion when English was not spoken.
They were also a tremendous 'ice-breaker'…
in one friendly Italian restaurant, the waiter (after he read all of the allergies) threw up his hands, said 'vino' and brought a bottle of wine saying that's all he could have! …
– Cathy in Ottawa, Canada
Not sure if you remember me, but I had ordered Japanese food allergy cards while still in Ohio. We have been in Japan since early Feb. and you had asked if I would let you know how the cards are working…..
I have to tell you that they have been a SERIOUS benefit to us here!!! I carry them everywhere and am able to not only use them in restaurants, but also when shopping at an off-base grocery. Even on-base, there are many Japanese who work the restaurants and their English is not very good at times.
The quality of the food allergy cards is excellent and we are so thankful to have them. Thanks for putting out such an awesome product!!! …
– Lucie in Japan
I have dealt with you in the past and wanted to let you know that your gluten free translation cards are fantastic! We were in a busy street in the middle of Istanbul and wanted to have lunch on our way to visit Topkapi.
I showed your gluten free card and ended up being shown by the owner by way of pointing what I could and could not have. When my meal came, it looked so good our friends ordered the same lunch. It also worked in Rhodes, Greece as the owner advised me they put flour in their rice which is most unusual for me.
Thanks to your cards we are able to travel wherever we wish and have absolutely no problem with my gluten free diet. In fact, I feel that we are given superior treatment as the owner normally becomes involved and the cards are taken directly to the chef to confirm that the food is all right for me.
I have told many people of your business and I hope they are using it to their advantage as I do. …
– Anne in Ontario, Canada
My recent trip to Italy was a great success thanks to your Italian Strongly Worded food allergy card on peanut/peanut oil. The very first day I used it, the waiter told me that when he showed the card to the chef, the chef told him that I could not eat their pizza because peanut oil is used in the dough.
That came as quite a surprise as I had never heard of using peanut oil in dough, but it shows how invaluable the food allergy card is. The cards also proved useful when ordering gelato because of possible cross contamination. The gelato store manager stated that I was safe eating only the fruited gelatos.
I highly recommend the use of these life-saving food allergy cards when traveling to any foreign country. …
– Kathy in Virginia
Throughout my life, my severe food allergy to nuts have made me fearful to travel, particularly in countries where I don't speak the language.
After reading my food allergy cards the waitstaff always went their way to make sure that all of my food was cooked and served without any contact with any of the foods that I am allergic to.
We were still, of course, cautious when eating–we stayed away from food stalls and buffets, and we were always insistent that the waiter show the food allergy card to the cook. The cards proved to be one of the best purchases I have ever made. …
– Marcia in Korea
I have just returned from trip to Vietnam and would to express my upmost gratitude. When showing your food allergy cards at restaurants, the waitstaff spent a lot of time studying the cards.
Often they would consult the chef but surprised me was the limited food I could eat. I realized how much fish and shellfish are in dishes that you would least expect – especially in Asian cuisine.
If I did not have the food allergy cards with me, I am not sure what would have honestly happened so I am really thankful. …
– Alex in Melbourne
I have returned from my trip to Bangkok. The strongly worded food allergy cards were amazing. First, I asked the waiter if peanuts or peanut oil were used in their recipes. They usually said no.
When I showed the waiters the strongly worded card, they paused, went to check with the cook and/or manager, and usually suggested a particular meal to eat. At most Thai restaurants I stuck with dessert.
One restaurant was extremely accommodating, cooking my food from scratch with freshly washed pots and utensils. The SelectWisely cards were a life-saver! …
– Michelle in Georgia
My 12 year old son has gone on 2 school international tours using your food allergy cards. 5 different countries with no allergen exposures. Parents do not travel with the school so having the allergy cards is a great worry reducer. …
– Susan in California
Just to let you know that the cards I ordered in March were amazing. I had my son's food allergies to milk, eggs and nuts translated into Thai by you. We used them everywhere we went and couldn't have survived without them.
The staff in the resort in Phuket took the cards to the kitchen and managed to provide safe meals for my son. We did have an incident at breakfast and we think the Special K cereal may have been cross contaminated with nuts.
My son had a severe anaphylactic allergy reaction so we used your Emergency card to get us to the hospital. The hotel staff got us a taxi immediately, the taxi driver read the Emergency card and got us to the hospital very quickly. The doctors read the food allergy cards and understood what was going on.
They treated him instantly. In summary your food allergy cards and emergency cards were a life-saver for us. Thank you very much. It is a great service you provide. …
– Jenny in Australia
I just wanted to tell you that the food allergy cards that we ordered worked just great. Everywhere that we went my husband would just show them his card and they took it to the person in charge and they checked to make sure that there was not any cottonseed oil in the products.
It seems that Germany does not even use cottonseed oil but my husband said the cards were worth their weight in gold to him. So you see, you have a very good product that you are selling. I am sure it will help many other people in the same situation. You can use this letter as a testimonial if you .
We are very grateful to you. Again, thank you. …
– Peg, Ohio
I have been using your food allergy cards for at least 8 years and am a huge fan. Thank you so much for allowing me to follow my husband on expat assignments to Germany and now China and still be able to eat out and travel extensively.
I have bought new cards because I have developed new food allergies but also have purchased them for my daughters and recommended them to MANY expats in both countries – including my nephew who is here in China as well with an allergic son.
These food allergy cards give me a great deal of confidence when eating out and the Chinese here in Shanghai have been very attentive to my dietary concerns. Thanks, again! …
– Barbara, Shanghai
My daughter did great in China with her food choices. She enjoyed the most freedom she has ever experienced eating out in restaurants.
Dairy is used very infrequently in Chinese cooking; however, when needed, the food allergy cards were of great help. The Chinese were very intrigued with the cards.
Several people commented that the translations were very accurate and precise! Thank you so much for providing this service; it is well needed and very useful! …
– Lois, Atlanta
You have made my day! Your food allergy cards in Russian arrived in this morning's mail. Yes, in England we get mail on a Saturday and I couldn't be happier about the envelope from your organisation that dropped through my door this morning.
The cards are perfect: clear, concise, informative and easy to read.
I've had cards in other languages from other places which aren't nearly as good and don't give the kind of no-nonsense information with translations underneath so the person with the card knows exactly what message they are giving. …
– Alison, Kent, England
I’m going to England as part of my university study abroad program. I am taking your multi-language food allergy card with me since I expect to travel around Europe while I’m there. A great service for the food-allergy sufferers me. …
– David, New York
I’m back from Japan and wanted to let you know that your Japanese food allergy card made a tremendous difference! I was able to get very good meals customized to my food requirements. Thanks to you, I did not have a single food related reaction during my entire trip. I really appreciate your extra efforts with the translation and timing. Thanks again! …
– Blanche, Pennsylvania
Our entire family thanks you for your food allergy translation cards! We ordered some in Italian, French and Spanish due to our son's severe peanut and tree nut allergies.
On our first night in Rome we handed one to our waiter, who promptly took it back to the chef who said they would make him something special since they did indeed use peanut oil in their kitchen.
That was one of many situations when those cards came in very handy, since we aren't fluent in any of the languages. Your cards were an immense help to us. …
– Louise, Connecticut