I was pleasantly surprised how knowledgeable and accommodating most of Europe was on allergies and sensitivities. If you are like me and suffer from any food intolerance or allergies (such as gluten and dairy), you can always find foods, restaurants and grocery stores that cater to this in most parts of Europe. We noticed that they used the same AWESOME allergen guide in most places with the legend as seen below:
According to the EU Food Legislation and Labeling (EU FIC 1169/2011), it is mandatory for all restaurants to have these allergens listed on the menu or available upon request. Since 2016, it is no longer enough for a staff member to verbally provide an overview of allergens on the menu. What surprised me, is that the total number of top allergens in Europe is much more than North America. There were ones that I have never seen before, such as Mustard, Sulphites, Molluscs, Lupin, Celery. Some restaurants had only listed the 2 more common ones such as G (Glutenfree), L (Lactose Free). In my opinion, food intolerance and allergies exist worldwide. Unfortunately, I believe that many places in the world are unable to fund for the research in order to provide further knowledge and education on the topic. Or it could be that their food industry is lobbying hard against these regulations.
What a relief it was for me to see all menu items listed with their allergens in a standardized format! It is a much more comfortable experience when dining out and much easier to select your meal. You are less dependent on the server’s knowledge of the menu and all its ingredients. Oftentimes there is a communication breakdown (or language barrier) between the client, the server and the chef. And sometimes, you have a server that is not educated on the topic or simply does not care. For those of you who can relate, you know that one tiny mistake can really MESS you up. If you are interested in reading further on this legislation see useful links at the end of this blog.
There is a plethora of information on the healthiest countries and diets in the world, but there is overlap in a few countries. Here are the top countries that came up often in my research. Most being European countries!
- Mediterranean diet comes up the most as the healthiest diet in the world including countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece.
If you would like to know more on healthiest countries in the world and diets see links below!
- The Daily Meal – 25 healthiest countries in the world
- The Huffington Post – healthiest diets in the world
- European Commission – Labelling Legislation
- European Union -Official Journal – See Annex II
- BBC News Release– European Food Regulations
Hope you enjoyed reading along and if you are located in Europe or visiting Europe then… happy eating!
Until Next Time,