There was an unconfirmed report on the weekend that a 21-year-old Norwegian Epic passenger died at sea from a heart attack that was alleged to have been brought on by a food allergy. When the Epic returned to port in Miami, the investigation began, and already there is innuendo and rumor that the authorities will eventually validate or not.
The death, which was confirmed by Norwegian, brings attention to the whole issue of food allergies, whether they were a contributing factor or not. Most of us for years were ignorant of, and generally indifferent to, people with serious food allergies. Our family was never knowingly affected, but is now.
Today, we have a grandchild with celiac disease, which means she has intolerance for gluten, essentially wheat that is used in more of the food we eat than we imagined before her diagnosis. We have a son-in-law who is allergic to walnuts, and nuts of any kind are a big one for people with food allergies. A friend of ours, but for the quick insertion of an epipen would have been in worse trouble than he already was. He had asked about nuts in the food on the menu, but there was some obscure “nutty” ingredient that became a problem.
Forty years ago, it wasn’t so serious, or if it was we didn’t know it. Today, it is serious stuff and the people in the cruise business didn’t need this weekend’s misfortune to get its attention. In the end, however, it’s still buyer-beware, and the onus is on those of us with serious food allergies to make sure we ask all the right questions.