I just got back from an all-inc holiday in Cuba and had some interesting dining experiences there. One of the protective measures I take is to carry my Ipod Touch at all times. It has a GF card 'app' which describes coeliac disease in many languages.
It doesn't work too well. For a start, the text is very small and I had trouble finding someone in a restaurant who could read it.
Secondly, it uses words that make sense in English, but when translated into Spanish appear to lose their meaning.
The Spanish word for gluten appears to be 'trego', but that actually means 'wheat'. Even after some of the staff had read the coeliac message in Spanish they still didn't seem to understand it properly and would offer me beer to drink!
I would like to try to put together a coeliac warning message using pictures and symbols in a similar way to other symbols that would be recognised internationally, quickly and without ambiguity.
The crossed grain symbol would be a starting point. Add a crossed barley symbol, a mill, perhaps, representing flour, a silhouette of someone throwing up and a skull and crossbones representing poison and death.
I found I always got the best response from staff by pretending to be sick and rubbing my stomach.
This needs to be developed on an international level, involving coeliac organisations from around the world.
Any takers or suggestions, please?