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  1. #1
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    Fish and/or Seafood Allergy

    I have been to Aruba about a dozen times and am planning another trip in January with my boyfriend. He is severely allergic to fish and/or seafood. So much so that he cannot be in a room where food is cooking, he cannot touch it, and he certainly cannot eat any. Any contact to fish or inhaling cooking fish causes his throat to close. He is unsure exactly what fish he is allergic to - if there are any specific types.

    With that said, in the US, he has no problems going to restaurants which serve seafood because of the US' cross-contamination rules. But we are worried about whether or not Aruba has such standards. Can anyone shed some light on this?

    Prior to our trip he will see an allergist to get a doctor's opinion (and an epiPen just in case), but it would be helpful to know if Aruba has any standards in place like the US does.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    i am going to send this as a privte message to chef kasi of MJs, Ommi of COOKS and Mark of Cafe' Capri.
    they are all restaurant owners and can answer this question

  3. #3
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    Food handling and food prep standars are the same here and are required by all restaurants including those in Aruba. Aruba's health department does check on restaurants for any violations and will shut them down if they are not complying. We adhere to all food handling and prep standards and I'm sure that Chef Kasi and Mark does the same at their restaurants. Cross contamination should not be a problem in your boyfriend's case.

    We are sure you'll have a great time here in Aruba. Enjoy

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    thanks ommi
    this is the answer that the member wanted to hear i am sure!

    cannot wait til december when it is time to enjoy a fine dinner at COOKS again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ommi View Post
    Food handling and food prep standars are the same here and are required by all restaurants including those in Aruba. Aruba's health department does check on restaurants for any violations and will shut them down if they are not complying. We adhere to all food handling and prep standards and I'm sure that Chef Kasi and Mark does the same at their restaurants. Cross contamination should not be a problem in your boyfriend's case.

    We are sure you'll have a great time here in Aruba. Enjoy

  5. #5
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    I am sorry to burst your bubble a little but in Aruba they are not as aware of allergies as they are in North America. I have a son with a nut allergy (thankfully not severe but still we need to carry an epi pen) and we find that it can be a challenge at times while traveling in Aruba. One restaurant we inquired if there were nuts in the brownie and were told "NO". Thankfully, his gf tasted it first and sure enough there were nuts in it.
    Two years ago I traveled with another son and his friend who had a fish allergy. We were very careful where we went and what we ordered. Many of the french fries that were cooked in oil also had the fish cooked in the same oil. Many of the restaurants that cooked meat or chicken did it on the same grill that fish was cooked. For example, we went to L.G. Smith steak house and they were unbelievable!! They understood and cleaned off the grill where his steak was to be cooked and I was able to discuss with them that they were not to use the same utensils. Many of the issues are due to communication issues as some restaurants the understanding of english and the understanding of the severity of the issue was different. We ate in a lot.
    I will give you my opinion, if the allergy is as severe as you describe, I would stick to a North American vacation or really restrict eating out in Aruba. At busy restaurants it is easy to accidentally cross contaminate your food. Fish is served everywhere and imo, you are taking a great risk.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    If the allergy is as severe as you suggest, Randi makes a good argument for not eating "out" while in Aruba and preparing your own food.

    So much so that he cannot be in a room where food is cooking,
    Even if a restaurant cooks beef and fish separately and there is a door between the cooking area and dining area, there are going to be "fumes" escaping the kitchen. It makes food preparation precautions more or less useless and futile no matter how careful the establishment is.

    Personally, imo, if the allergy is so severe, why take the chance?


  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for the info and advice. We certainly do not want to take any chances but it would be nice to be able to eat out here and there. I would love for the bf to experience one of the things I love so much about Aruba - the food But we're not willing to take any chances.

    I also plan to ask questions of others while there and we will decide based upon all information (and his doctor's opinions).

    And if anyone has any other info, I would be delighted to hear it ... such as, are there written regulations which can be posted about food handling in Aruba?

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Aruba since 1979
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    011(297) 588 7130 or 011(297) 588 7280 these might be dept of public health numbers.

    or you could try the aruba chamber of commerce
    see link below

    http://www.arubachamber.com

    everyone has some valid points

    what does he do in the USA? does he just take a chance that there is no cross contamination (is that what it is called?)

  9. #9
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    In the US, he has no problems with restaurants. I have even eaten seafood sitting just next to him without an issue. We surmise that the restaurants we eat at in NY all adhere to the non-cross-contamination rules (different utensils, etc.) and we assume that all have heavy duty hoods in the kitchens which ventilate the restaurant. There was one instance, though, when dining in a space with a mussel special. He started to feel the reaction in his chest and he got out of the restaurant. We assume that it was the odors of the cooking mussels which caused it. So we have that going for us - he knows what the beginnings of an attack feel like. But if he ingests anything by accident, that would be a severe issue.

    I will check out the chamber link you suggested - thanks! I still welcome any first-hand knowledge anyone may have.

  10. #10
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    Just to update any others with fish allergies, all went well with the trip. We ate at Flying Fishbones, Yemanja, Tomato Charlie's, Iguana Joe's and Texas de Brazil and no problems with any of these. We told our server about the allergy in advance and had an epipen on hand and all was completely fine. We didn't try any hole-in-the-wall places just in case

    Incidentally, I did send emails in advance to Yemanja (my favorite) and the camber of commerce and had no response to either. I really didn't expect a response - it was more of a shot in the dark.

    For those of you who have food allergies, I wouldn't fear too much. Just be proactive and aware.

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