Picture this: The PTA meeting to plan that end-of-year party is about to start, so you sit down and sip your coffee from this mug! Or your food allergy walk team is at the starting line and you step up wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with this logo! Or maybe you chaperone the next field trip sporting a tote bag with this message!
Whatever the scenario, what better way to communicate your feelings than with this humorous message! And there’s no better time, because all profits will be donated to FAACT – the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team – a wonderful non-profit advocacy dedicated to educating, advocating, and raising awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis.
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- popchips – The innovative popped snack company offers an extensive line of potato and veggie chips that are certified gluten-free, trans and saturated fat-free and free of preservatives and artificial ingredients. Several of the company’s products also recently received non-GMO verification and are manufactured in a facility free of seven of the top eight allergens.
- Winona Pure – Winona Foods® of Green Bay markets a line of cooking oils under the Winona Pure® brand, all manufactured in a peanut, tree nut and sesame-free facility. Their specialized packaging allows them to offer Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola, Sunflower and Popcorn Butter flavored oils in a convenient spray without the need for chemical propellants or additives.
Products will be showcased in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, resources trusted by schools and the allergic community.
New York, NY (PRWEB) April 14, 2015
SnackSafely.com, publisher of the Safe Snack Guide™ – a resource relied upon by thousands of schools and tens of thousands of parents nationwide to help keep peanuts and tree nuts out of the classroom and the home – is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to its Manufacturer Partnership.
Winona Foods® of Green Bay markets a line of cooking oils under the Winona Pure® brand, all manufactured in a peanut, tree nut and sesame-free facility. Their specialized packaging allows them to offer Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola, Sunflower and Popcorn Butter flavored oils in a convenient spray without the need for chemical propellants or additives.
popchips, the innovative popped snack company, offers an extensive line of potato and veggie chips that are certified gluten-free, trans and saturated fat-free and free of preservatives and artificial ingredients. Several of the company’s products also recently received non-GMO verification and are manufactured in a facility free of seven of the top eight allergens. Their popping process produces great tasting snacks without the use of the heavy oils that are commonly used in the traditional frying process.
“We understand the importance of transparency for consumers coping with food allergies and the need for them to make informed decisions,” says Marc Seguin, CMO of popchips. “The Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, resources trusted by the allergic community, are important ways for us to share additional information about our products.”
“As the name states, we developed our Winona Pure line of oils to exacting standards for purity, making them especially appealing to individuals with a wide range of dietary restrictions,” says Terry Steinmann, CEO of Winona Foods. “SnackSafely.com provides effective programs that will help us reach this growing demographic where traditional media often falls short.”
Dave Bloom, CEO of SnackSafely.com says: “We are pleased to welcome popchips and Winona Foods to our growing list of manufacturers, all of which are committed to providing significantly more allergen information than the FDA requires on the label.
“We look forward to helping these national brands build connections with the millions of consumers seeking products that are compatible with their specific allergen concerns.”
SnackSafely.com’s proprietary platform provides a portal for manufacturers to disclose how 11 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk soy, wheat fish, shellfish, gluten, sesame and mustard) are processed during the manufacture of each of their products. In return, qualifying products earn listings in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, a service allowing individuals with multiple food allergies/intolerances to screen products based upon the allergen information provided by the manufacturers.
Joining the partnership of over 40 manufacturers is absolutely free. Manufacturers employing responsible practices are encouraged to apply at http://mfg.snacksafely.com.
In positive news, DBV Technologies, a French firm developing skin patch therapies for various allergens, issued a press release announcing their Viaskin® Peanut patch has received “Breakthrough Therapy” (BT) designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
DBV describes Viaskin as “an electrostatic patch, based on Epicutaneous Immunotherapy, or EPIT®, which administers an allergen directly onto the superficial layers of the skin to activate the immune system by specifically targeting antigen-presenting cells without allowing passage of the antigen into the bloodstream.”
When it comes to food allergies, there are two trends in the United States today. First, we have lax labeling requirements that have spawned non-standard, voluntary allergen warnings that lead to confusion among the most vulnerable. Second, the allergic demographic is growing rapidly, and – though food companies are slowly taking notice – they are unsure how to engage.
Tracy Bush – author, advocate, and blogger, who is also known to the food allergy community as Nutrimom – has written an excellent article for the current edition of Food Safety Magazine entitled “Food Companies & Food Allergies: Unite!”, explaining how companies can gain a loyal following by applying some basic precepts to their labeling and production.
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According to a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, allergies to specific foods can be passed via blood transfusions, though such cases are extremely rare.
The research was initiated after an eight year old Canadian boy with no history of food allergies suddenly experienced an anaphylactic reaction to salmon after receiving a transfusion of platelets as part of ongoing chemotherapy treatment. Four days later he had a reaction to peanuts.
Investigators traced the source of the platelets and found that a single donor had multiple severe food allergies including fish and peanuts.
Though extremely rare, researchers found that food allergies can be passed through an antibody that reacts against allergens, immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is found in blood platelets.
Food challenge: where the patient consumes a food they may be allergic to while the medical staff hovers nearby, ready to inject epinephrine if the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear. Low-tech, dangerous, and the only reliable way to test how severely someone may react to an allergen. Until now.
A blood test resulting from a study led by researchers from The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute and the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute promises to predict which people will have severe allergic reactions to specific foods. The study was published yesterday in The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology accompanied by a press release by Mount Sinai.
Current testing relies on skin pricks and blood tests that detect proteins called allergen-specific IgE produced by the immune system, though these cannot accurately predict the severity of reactions. The study reports that measuring another immune system component, the basophil, can accurately predict how a person will react to specific allergens. The basophil activation test (BAT) requires only a small amount of blood and provides quick results.
“While providing crucial information about their potential for a severe allergic reaction to a food, having blood drawn for BAT testing is a much more comfortable procedure than food challenges.” says first author Ying Song, MD. “Although food challenges are widely practiced, they carry the risk of severe allergic reactions, and we believe BAT testing will provide accurate information in a safer manner.”
Note that BAT testing is currently only approved for research study.
SnackSafely.com has announced the acquisition of the food allergy advocacy by the National Peanut Board – an organization representing the interests of the nation’s peanut farmers – effective today, April 1.
Beginning this Monday, the focus of the SnackSafely.com blog will be repurposed to promote the health benefits of wholesome peanut butter in our nation’s schools, the Safe Snack Guide will be renamed The Peanut Snack Guide, and Allergence, their allergen screening service, will be restricted to accepting products manufactured in plants that also process peanuts.
“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”, says Dave Bloom, SnackSafely.com’s former CEO and now Chief Peanut Officer of the national board. “I woke up this morning staring down the barrel of shotgun and had a sudden epiphany. It was a ‘come to Mr Peanut’ moment”.
By now you’ve probably read the Allergic Living article about two families that have filed lawsuits after losing their sons to anaphylaxis. The details are horrific, as they always are when a child is taken by allergic reactions.
In one case, a boy of 16 from Minnesota died from an anaphylactic reaction when it turned out the pancake he was eating at a restaurant was contaminated with milk. The family did not have his auto-injectors on-hand and had to rush him home, but by then it was too late.
In the other, an 11 year old Alabama boy died from a severe reaction to a supermarket cookie. Though an employee assured the family that the cookie contained no tree nuts, it did in fact contain walnuts. His mother administered Benadryl once the symptoms presented themselves and at some point afterward administered his auto-injector, but despite being airlifted to the hospital he could not be resuscitated.
These deaths are every parent’s nightmare, especially for those of us who are part of the community of kids with food allergies. But if there is anything to be redeemed from these tragedies, it is what can be learned to prevent them from happening to other children.
With no disrespect or judgement meant for the grieving parents of these boys, and knowing nothing more about the circumstances that lead to their reactions, let’s remind ourselves of what we can do to prevent occurrences similar to these in the future.
It’s spring time and that means it’s time for the Easter Edition of the Safe Snack Guide!
We’ve added a full page of Easter-themed goodies free of peanuts, tree nuts, and (in many cases) eggs. Some can be purchased at the corner market, others can be ordered on-line.
Once again, apologies to our readers who celebrate Passover. We are still searching for safe products that are nut-free and certified kosher for the holiday. If you know of any such products, please let us know.
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