food safety tips

What Foods to Avoid When Traveling Overseas

Parenting children who are not afraid of trying new foods can sometimes get a bit stressful when you’re traveling overseas. For starters, most of the time you don’t know how or where a food item was prepared and assume the person/restaurant who is serving it knows:

  1. that they are serving it to children who could get very ill and;
  2. if the item in question is contaminated.
food safety tips
In Amster­dam, fish stands sell raw herr­ing (‘har­ing’), a soused raw fish with a strong taste. Dutch raw herr­ing is huge­ly popular in Amster­dam.
food safety tips
Tanjia is made with sheep, seasoned with preserved lemons, garlic, cumin, saffron, and olive oil.

With summer and its heat finally upon us, and many families planning or currently on vacations to destinations overseas, it is important to read up on food safety tips.

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) tracks food-borne illnesses and collaborates with state and local health departments and other federal agencies to investigate food-borne outbreaks.

food safety tips
Crab legs from Costa Brava, Spain
food safety tips
Mussels from Costa Brava, Spain

Food Safety Tips & Travel Apps

One of the ways that we as a family limit our food-borne illness exposure is to educate ourselves before we travel to a particular country. Here’s how you and your family can educate and limit your food-borne illness exposure and enjoy your summer holiday:

  1. Download the CDC’s new app called Can I Eat This?while traveling abroad you can select the country you’re in and answer a few simple questions about what you’re thinking about eating or drinking, and Can I Eat This? will tell you whether it’s likely to be safe.
  2. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) TravWell app helps you plan for safe and healthy international travel. Build a trip to get destination-specific vaccine recommendations, a checklist of what you need to do to prepare for travel, and a customizable healthy travel packing list. The app also lets you store travel documents, keep a record of your medications and immunizations, and set reminders to get vaccine booster doses or take medicines while you’re traveling.
    food safety tips
  3. Register with the Department of State’s FREE Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to enable the department to assist you in an emergency, notify you ahead of time if there is a crisis where you intend to travel, or contact you if there is a family emergency at home.
  4. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for information on visa requirements, exchange rates, and travel warnings. There’s also an official State Department Smart Traveler iPhone app available that offers easy mobile access to all of this information.
  5. Review the travelers’ health pages at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website and the World Health Organization website for conditions at your destination that could affect your health, such as high altitude or pollution, types of medical facilities that are available, required immunizations, availability of required pharmaceuticals, safe food and water precautions, insect bite protection and more.
food safety tips
Kibbeh nayyeh or raw kibbeh (Arabic: كبة نيئة ) is a Lebanese and common Levantine mezze. It consists of minced raw lamb or beef mixed with fine bulgur.

As a family we often book food tours with reputable food tour companies. This helps ease our anxiety when it comes to experiencing a country’s cuisine and more importantly learn from a “local” about their culture.

Here are a few food tours we’ve visited and highly recommend in the Netherlands, Morocco, United States and Czech Republic.

  1. Marrakech Food Tours

    Marrakech Food Tours is owned and operated by a husband and wife team who have made it their mission to bring the real food of Marrakech to those visiting the red city. Try the tanjia! Read our review here.

  2. Hungry Birds

    A young travel company that creates street food adventures with the help of locals who are passionate about presenting their city, hearts and souls on a plate. During a Hungry Birds experience, you will find exactly that, sometimes in unexpected places. Read our reviews here, here and here.

  3. Eating Prague Tours

    Uncover what makes Prague so mysterious and intriguing. Enjoy the Czech capital’s old-world charm, and discover their local cuisine and famous local beers. Read our review here.

  4. Vegas Valley Tours

    Visit Las Vegas like you’ve never known it before. Venture off the well traveled path from the Fremont Street Experience and eat like a local. Review coming soon!

It is important when traveling with young children that you do your research into what you should and should not be eating in certain countries. For more information and recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

food safety tips

If you have any food safety tips that work well for you and your family, we’d love to hear them in the comments below!


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