Richard Boyle


I had my first episode of anaphylaxis in 1993 and my family and I have lived with known mammalian meat allergy since about 1995.

We eat out and travel a lot and have to make sure we tell friends and family when we go to dinner that I cannot eat meat. It is a good idea to remind them on each occasion. If going to a BBQ with friends I will often take some pre-bought BBQ chicken or just eat salad (after checking for bacon/ham). When we go out to dinner I try and check the menu online first to make sure there is something appropriate I would enjoy eating.

Degustation menus present a problem sometimes and usually if I phone the restaurant in advance they can prepare a course that I can eat. We still eat out frequently and ask the waiter about any course that I order to check it doesn’t have meat or bacon in the sauce, no matter how unlikely it seems.

Sometimes in Asian restaurants there will be “Spicy Tofu” in the vegetarian section of the menu and on several occasions it has come laced with minced pork- I think my family will kill me if I ever order this again!!!!

When we travel I usually use google translate and print out several copies in appropriate languages and alphabet. I usually give alternatives that I can eat so I would translate: I AM ALLERGIC TO BEEF ,PORK ,LAMB AND BACON BUT I CAN EAT CHICKEN , DUCK , TURKEY AND ALL SEAFOOD, THANK YOU.
I would include mutton and goat in the allergy list for countries where that is eaten and ham for countries that eat a lot of ham- the clearer the list the better, and some people don’t understand that ham, bacon and pork are the same animal.

Whoever you live and travel with needs to know how to use an EpiPen and every out of date EpiPen is an opportunity for practice on some appropriate target eg a pillow or cushion. When we travel I always take an indate EpiPen with me in carry-on luggage and despite several full checks it has never been a concern to airport staff and I have never had to produce a letter. Nevertheless it is always a good idea to have a covering letter from your GP

On the plane I normally do not order a special meal but ask the cabin crew politely if I could have the chicken or fish alternative once the menu is available. Occasionally the only choice is meat but that is unusual. I found ordering a special meal meant a small tasteless meal so I take a chance accepting the risk of no meal.