x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Allergy sufferer said she can no longer dine out

Daniella Maitland-Walker struggles daily with food allergies.

DUBAI // Daniella Maitland-Walker struggles daily with food allergies. Not only did it take 15 specialists to detect that she had coeliac disease, but she can no longer dine out from fear of cross-contamination.

"It's a real struggle for me because I have numerous allergies," said Ms Maitland-Walker, a Bulgarian mother of two in Dubai. "It's just so challenging."

To make matters worse, she also developed an allergy to chemicals, which means she can no longer drink water from plastic bottles or dye her hair.

Doctors also recently said her 8-year-old son has coeliac disease, turning her food shopping into a nightmare.

"I have to go to at least three supermarkets to get gluten-free food," she said. "People don't have that much knowledge in the UAE and there's no real support."

Her meat and eggs must be organic, and free from pesticides and chemicals. She usually buys from Spinneys and, every Saturday, an organic market in the Dubai Garden Centre.

"Milk and honey are the biggest challenges to find," she said. "I always feel scared I'll be contaminated and get sick when I go food shopping, so this new online supermarket [see main story] is very exciting for me, as I won't have to leave the house."

* Caline Malek