Posts by: Dave

SunButter_01LogoSunbutter, manufacturer of the leading peanut-butter alternative and a long-time member of the SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Partnership, has published a free recipe book designed specifically for school food services.

The resource, entitled School Safe Foodservice Recipes, provides 17 peanut and tree nut free recipes schools can use to help implement nut-free school policies.

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SSG-Update-FB-BlogIconWe’re pleased to announce the addition of many products from new and existing members of our Manufacturer Partnership as well as clarifications to text that appears on our cover page.

New Partners

SnackSafely.com welcomes two manufacturers that have joined our partnership, now numbering over 50 companies. By doing so, they have committed to providing much greater disclosure regarding their processing of 11 allergens than is required by the FDA on the label.

Logo GOE 73x73Goetze’s Candy is a family owned company located in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1895, Goetze’s Candy has been making sweet treats in the USA for over 120 years. The firm produces iconic Caramel Creams® and Cow Tales®, both manufactured in a facility free of peanuts and tree nuts. Click here to learn more about Goetze’s and their products.

Logo TRP 73x73Triann’s Pantry specializes in quick, easy, delicious baking mixes free of gluten, dairy, soy, egg, peanut, tree nut, rice and corn that are manufactured in their own dedicated facility free of these allergens. Click here to learn more about Triann’s and their products.

New Products

PAS Logo 73x73We’ve added organic, dark chocolate chips and mini-bars from the Pascha Chocolate Company. Pascha specializes in gourmet dark chocolate completely free of all 8 major allergens (and more) with no taste compromise. Click here to learn more about Pascha and their products.

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ER

An article summarizing the recommendations of an expert panel of allergists and emergency personnel was published last week in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and what it had to say is of special importance to people at risk for anaphylaxis.

It should be noted that the earlier a person suffering anaphylaxis receives epinephrine, the less severe the reaction may be and the less likely the victim will suffer a biphasic reaction (a second reaction) later on.

The problem is that symptoms of anaphylaxis do not always present the same way, causing medical personnel to delay administration of epinephrine because they’re not sure the patient is indeed having such a reaction.

The panel recommends that patients receive epinephrine even if they do not meet all the established criteria for anaphylaxis if: (1) they have had a previous severe reaction or (2) they have had a known or suspected exposure to their trigger with our without symptoms.

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FB-AirplaneBipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate Wednesday to help travelers coping with severe food allergies. The Air Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, promoted by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of senators.

The bill has three major components. It:

  • Calls for airlines to maintain stock epinephrine auto-injectors aboard and train crew members to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to administer the medication;
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study and report to Congress on air carrier policies related to passengers with food allergies. The report will cover a range of topics including the variability of existing policies, how they are applied, how staff are trained and how passengers learn about and utilize them;
  • Directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to clarify that the epinephrine ampules currently included in medical emergency kits are intended for use during anaphylactic emergencies.

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famecoverAs we approach the start of another school year, parents, teachers and school health professionals are developing plans to help accommodate millions of children with food allergies. This year places extra emphasis on planning, as many school districts will be incorporating the use of stock epinephrine into their emergency procedures as provided for by legislation passed by state governments over the preceding years.

The feedback we have been receiving from our readers indicates that school districts across the country run the gamut from well prepared to haven’t got a clue how to deal with food allergies, and the shortage of school nurses to help develop and implement procedures isn’t helping matters.

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We received many questions regarding those “May contain…” type messages you find on labels after our Time article yesterday. With that in mind, here’s a 10 second quiz to see how well you know what those warnings really mean:

The following are allergen warnings you might find on a product that does not contain the allergen as an ingredient. Simply put them in order of safest to most risk that the product contains traces of the allergen:

A – May contain allergen
B – Manufactured in a facility that also processes allergen
C – Manufactured on equipment that also processes allergen
D – May contain traces of allergen
E – [No statement]

You have 10 seconds while we bring you this graphic. Go!

10sec test

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Time ArticleAn article by Markham Heid posted on Time’s website yesterday seeks to answer whether you can rely on those voluntary “May contain…” and “Manufactured on equipment that also processes…” warnings that appear on food products. We say voluntary because the FDA only requires that manufacturers disclose when a Top-8 allergen is an ingredient of a product, not when there is a danger of cross-contact with an allergen that is processed on the same equipment or in the same facility as the product.

While the article is well written, it may mislead the reader by giving the impression that you can rely on labels to determine whether a food product is safe because “no one is trying to hoodwink consumers—or expose someone with an allergy to a potentially harmful ingredient.”

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Skin prick testAs reported in the Daily Mail, a new UK study published in the medical journal Allergy finds that for every child diagnosed with a milk allergy via blood and skin prick tests, another goes undiagnosed that will suffer a reaction.

Dr Kate Grimshaw, a specialist pediatric dietitian at Southampton Children’s Hospital, reported that not all allergies can be detected by measuring levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody, which is linked to allergic reactions.

Dr Grimshaw, who participated in the EuroPrevall study funded by the European Union, said:

Dr GrimshawWe know that sometimes if a child is seen for a possible food allergic reaction – to any food, not just milk – but tests show there is no measurable IgE, then a possible food reaction may be ruled out, when in fact the child may be reacting to the food, just not via IgE. This research will hopefully highlight to GPs and non-allergy specialists that just because an IgE test is negative, the child may in fact be reacting to a food and further investigations should be carried out.

The study, which followed over 9,000 babies from nine European countries until age two, found that 1.3% of children from the UK reacted to milk within two hours, but only 45% had IgE levels associated with symptoms.

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Mimi-Tang-portraitABC News Australia reports that a study of hospital admissions in the country from 2005 to 2013 found a 50% jump in children admitted for anaphylaxis.

Professor Mimi Tang of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) said the highest rates of hospital admission were for younger children, but that rates for older children aged 5-14 more than doubled.

“What we think is happening is that more children are getting food allergies but of concern, these allergies tend to be peanut, tree nut and shellfish that you don’t grow out of,” she said.

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WRICYesterday, WRIC – the ABC affiliate in Richmond, VA – aired a report leading with a stock photo of an EpiPen®, claiming that epinephrine was in short supply. Since then we have received a number of inquiries from panicked readers concerned that auto-injectors will not be available when needed.

Though it’s true that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated numerous epinephrine shortages on their website for months now, these are specifically for vials and syringes of the drug generally administered by healthcare professionals in a hospital or clinical setting. Despite the reported shortages from specific manufacturers, our understanding is that epinephrine is generally available when needed.

The FDA’s site makes no mention of a shortage of auto-injectors, the devices that sufferers of severe allergies carry with them for emergency use in case of a severe reaction. A series of calls to pharmacies in five states confirmed that they are readily available and that there are no warnings of pending shortages from their suppliers.

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