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May 7th 2008 1:26PM I don't have food allergies, but my traveling partner is allergic to crustaceans so I avoid them, too. It's probably easier to tell when something has shrimp than peanuts (or pine nuts), but there are still times when you just don't know - like with soups or dishes made with lots of different ingredients.
We employ 3 strategies and hope for the best: 1) avoid anything that looks suspiciously seafood-y, 2) try to learn at least some of the more common words (like shrimp, shellfish, and allergy) in the native language and write them down, and 3) always keep an EpiPen on hand in case the first two steps don't work.
It's not as fun to stick to what you know, but we still manage to try our share of new foods.