Food allergies year-round are challenging enough to handle. Passover is an entirely different challenge. People wrongly assume that traveling to Israel with food allergies is easier than during the year. while this may be true for certain allergies, such as gluten allergies, it is in fact not true. Food Allergy Concierge (FAC) is here to provide education on safely traveling in Israel during Passover.
The problem of allergens on Passover stems from different traditions regarding stringency of kosher for Passover items, and kosher for Passover procedures are insufficient for allergen microparticle cleansing. The Sephardim eat kitniyot (legumes) and Ashkenazim do not. It is common for a product to be labeled “not kiniyot”, even if traces remain present.
Some common allergens that are kitniot are sesame, peanuts, and chickpeas.
For example, local and exported Israeli products may be labeled “no kitniyot”, but it is very important to know where the product was manufactured and whether there could be traces of the allergen in the product. The process of “koshering” Passover machines and surfaces includes sterilizing with boiling hot water. This process does not neutralize the minute amounts of allergen oils and proteins that continue to affect the products produced from the machine.
Often allergies get lumped into the same category as ‘kosher’. Kosher manufacturers and rabbinical supervisors allow up to 1/60th of a non-kosher item in kosher products. The problem is that 1/60th of a peanut or sesame seed is enough to cause an allergic reaction in a child allergic to these items.
Also, all types of nuts are a major binding ingredient in many things that are baked and even cooked during Pesach. This is particularly true for kosher for Passover items that contain no gluten or matzah product. It is also the alternative to anything with kitniyot. Almond flour, walnut oil, and other products are commonly used for baked goods and even for cooking. For anyone suffering from nut allergies, remember Pesach products here and abroad are often made with nuts or have traces of nuts in them.
To enjoy your Pesach holiday and to have peace of mind while you are in Israel, Food Allergy Concierge recommends:
1. Ordering a comprehensive food allergy card. Food allergy cards are available in Hebrew (and in any language) and have lots of information for chefs to assure your safety when in Israel.
2. Getting a FAC remote allergy management package for people traveling to hotels and restaurants. FAC can remotely or in person manage food preparation for allergic children or adults in Israel. we send detailed instructions to expedite safe service.
3. Purchasing Israeli medical travel insurance – its affordable and can reassure you in times of crisis that your medical issues will be covered.
FAC wishes you and your entire family a safe, allergy free Passover and a pleasant holiday and trip to Israel!
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA