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Need help on traveling to Greece with someone who has food allergies

This summer, I have to travel with someone, who has severe (life-threatening level) food allergies to dairy (milk), eggs and fish to Greece.

The person cannot drink cow's milk, but can safely drink soy milk. The person can also eat vegan meals if they are strictly vegan (no animal products are used in the ingredients and there is no cross contamination with milk, egg and fish).

So here come my questions:

  • I heard that I cannot bring in cow's milk even in check-in luggage - is that also true for soy or other types of milk?

  • If so, can you find soy milk in the supermarket there?

  • Can you find vegan food in the supermarket?

  • In the US (where I live), food manufacturers often list the possibilities of cross contamination with major allergens such as "may contain a trace amount of ..." on the package. How about food products sold in EU countries?

Thank you so much!!

YN

Posted by
11450 posts

Wow this is going to be hard , make sure you have a proper translation outlining the severity of these allergies written in Greek !

Posted by
91 posts

This will depend massively on where you are going to stay in Greece. In one of the more major tourist destinations & cities you will be able to buy soy milk in most supermarkets - along with nut milks, coconut milk, rice milk etc. & in health food shops (in major towns only). However, in small rural areas this would be more difficult.

In tavernas you will need to ask very carefully - there are things your friend can eat, but make sure the taverna owner understands. They will often want to help by making something suitable. Much cheese & yoghurt is made from goat or sheep milk, if that is OK. Some manufactured foods sold in supermarkets will have the equivalent of 'may contain nuts', but to be honest, there is very little 'ready meal' type food in Greece - most is bought & cooked fresh. Tavernas in villages will not be using packets or bought-in frozen meals, that's for sure!

If you can get to the street markets (laiiki) you will be able to buy a lovely range of fresh fruit & veg.

So my advice is - large town for big supermarket, small villages for restaurants.

Posted by
15053 posts

Fruit and vegetables are available everywhere and delicious. Greek salad is a staple at meals - just tell them to leave out the feta cheese. Cooking is with olive oil (no meat products), easy to get lots of eggless vegetarian cooked dishes in restaurants. I would be leery of anything in a pastry because they may use butter or eggs. Pita bread is common in restaurants and is made without eggs or dairy. Prepackaged roasted nuts and seeds and dried fruit (figs especially) are sold in all food stores, like minimarkets and kiosks. In many you can also buy in bulk. In Athens, there are folks with pushcarts selling small packets of nuts (they are expensive). There are also some with bread rings covered in sesame seeds (soooo good). I'm pretty sure these are made without dairy products or eggs - but it would be easy to ask.

I think Greece would be easier than most other European countries for your travel companion.

Posted by
8293 posts

May I suggest that you make sure your travel companion has travel medical insurance. Also find out what number to phone for emergency medical service. Sorry to sound scary but you do make the situation sound dire.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for all of your great suggestions!

Pat
Thanks! She has allergy cards.

jwugg
There is very little 'ready meal' type food in Greece - most is bought & cooked fresh.

I see. I'd suggest her packing vegan cup noodles that she can find here (US)!
Which supermarket should she try to find soy milk?

Chani
Thanks! If she can eat pita bread (is it milk and egg free?), I think we can make a sandwich with fresh veggies.

Norma
Yes, she says she did. She got the names of the local hospitals as well.

Posted by
15053 posts

Pita here is made from flour, yeast, salt and water. The pita I ate in Greece had a similar taste, but a very different form - not suitable for sandwiches. I was thinking about what would be available in restaurants. Most bread and rolls here are made without eggs or dairy. I think it's quite possibly the same in Greece. In your place I'd do some internet browsing - there are websites that give information on vegan restaurants, stores and foods by country/city.

One of the problems with shopping in stores is that ingredients are written - like everything else - in Greek. So you have to be able to read it or ask someone.