Posts by: Dave

coconutdrinkThe importer of a coconut drink linked to the death of a 10 year-old Melbourne boy in 2013 was fined AUD $18,000.

Narkena Pty Ltd – a food importer based in Sydney, Australia – had pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the packing and labeling of Greentime Natural Coconut Drink imported from Taiwan.

Australia’s New South Wales Food Authority determined the drink contained condensed milk which was not declared on the label. The product was recalled after the child’s death.

“It is relevant that the death of a child precipitated the investigation and led to the charges,” said Jennifer Atkinson, the local magistrate who imposed the fines. “The company relied on the information from the manufacturer rather than making its own inquiries.”

The company was fined $6000 for each of three charges and ordered to pay an additional $24,000 for costs related to their investigation. The maximum fine that could have been imposed was $10,000 for each charge.

“If you import from countries that are non-English speaking, it is really important to get the correct information, to get it right because food allergy is not just about people complaining about a food choice. It can be a life and death issue,” said Maria Said, president of Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia.

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FB SSG Update - Megaphone

We’re pleased to announce a new member to our Manufacturer Partnership.

muffintownMuffin Town, headquartered in Chelsea, MA, has been providing premium value baked goods for over 30 years. Their SunWise SunButter and Grape Jelly Sandwich is made in a peanut and tree nut-free facility and can be found in many school cafeterias, food service establishments and retail outlets nationwide, providing a great lunch option for children in allergen-restricted classrooms and families on the go.

Click here to find out more about the company and their products. Click here to see the press release.

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Firm’s PB&J alternative now featured in the Safe Snack Guide as a safer choice for schools and individuals concerned with peanut and tree nut allergies.

“’s deep roots in food allergy and school advocacy make them the ideal partner to help us reach out to those families. We’re proud to be featured in their publications.”

Jack Anderson
President and CEO of JSB Industries

CHELSEA, MA, November 17, 2015 (Newswire) – ​​​​​​​​​​​​, publishers of the Safe Snack Guide – a curated catalog of peanut and tree nut-free foods used by thousands of schools nationwide – is pleased to welcome JSB Industries to its growing partnership of manufacturers.

Muffin Town, the brand founded by JSB in 1978, specializes in the supply of high quality baked products to foodservice & retail companies. Their individually wrapped, SunWise SunButter and Jelly Sandwich is manufactured in a peanut and tree nut-free facility and as such is an exceptional option for people sensitive to these allergens.

muffinss“Families coping with food allergies often have difficulties finding foods that are safe to eat, especially in public settings,” says Jack Anderson, President and CEO of JSB Industries. “Our products provide safe, delicious options for families avoiding peanuts and tree nuts, at home and when they’re on the go.

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Dr Ruchi GuptaFindings presented Monday at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting suggest that testing the siblings of children diagnosed with food allergies is not advisable. These tests often return positive results even though the child does not have allergy. False positives generally lead to food avoidance which may increase the risk for developing an allergy later in life.

“Many children are sensitized to a food, so they will have a positive test result, but that does not mean they have a true food allergy,” said Ruchi Gupta, MD, lead researcher on the study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

The study involved 478 children with confirmed food allergy and 642 of their siblings. Each sibling was given skin prick tests and serologic immunoglobulin E (sigE) for cows milk, egg white, soybean, wheat, peanut, walnut, sesame seed, a fish mix and a shellfish mix. The siblings were then observed for 2 hours after ingesting the foods for clinical signs of allergy, including hives, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath, repetitive coughing, wheezing or chest tightness, throat tightness, choking or difficulty swallowing, tongue swelling, fainting, dizziness, light-headedness or decreased consciousness, and vomiting.

Food allergy was defined as a positive skin prick test plus symptoms, while sensitization was defined as a positive skin prick test or positive sigE and an absence of symptoms.

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ambiguity_road_signThe food allergy community was rocked on October 30 when Sanofi issued a press release announcing the voluntary recall of all Auvi-Q® and Allerject® epinephrine auto-injectors sold in the US and Canada.

But what exactly does it mean when a company issues a voluntary recall?  Does it imply the defect itself is not that serious and your participation is voluntary? Does it mean the seriousness or pervasiveness of the defect is such that the company didn’t really have to issue the recall but is doing so voluntarily?

Judging from the inquiries we’ve received at, many of you are confused by the ambiguity – but it is important to understand because the language colors both the urgency and intent of the recall. To clarify, we consulted a leading authority, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. The non-profit is at the forefront of consumer protection and is a leader in representing the interests and safety of the American public.

Here is the definition of voluntary recall from their website:


Unsafe by definition: Voluntary recall

Consumer Reports News: February 15, 2010

What it is: Most recalls of defective products are characterized as “voluntary,” a confusing term that can lead consumers to believe that the recall is optional. But voluntary recall is just government-speak for a deal that a manufacturer or retailer of a hazardous product has negotiated with the federal agency in charge of overseeing the safety of that product category. Voluntary recall would also seem to indicate that there are “mandatory recalls” that can be issued by the government should manufacturers or retailers refuse to cooperate, but nearly all the recalls announced last year were voluntary.

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LoveAuviQIf you haven’t seen it yet on social media, there’s no doubt you will: A petition to the Chief Medical Officer of Sanofi urging him to quickly bring the Auvi-Q® epinephrine auto-injector back to market.  Here is the text from the petition:

As people with life-threatening allergies or parents of allergic children, we appreciate that the Auvi-Q is an awesome innovation, and we want you to know we are not giving up on you. We hope you are not giving up on us! Setbacks are a part of innovation, and we trust you will work quickly and diligently to fix the problem. Please bring the Auvi-Q back on the market as soon as possible, and we will be there to fill our prescriptions. Thank you!

The petition is in response to a recall by Sanofi of all its Auvi-Q and Allerject® branded auto-injectors from the US and Canadian markets due to numerous reports the device potentially delivered less epinephrine than advertised or none at all. [See Chronology of the Perfect Storm That Hit the Food Allergy Community.]

We understand the draw of the Auvi-Q given its small form-factor and innovative verbal instructions that guide the user through the administration process. It’s a terrific option for children and adults alike – if only it worked as advertised.

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auvi-qSanofi has established a process to refund out-of-pocket expenses resulting from their recall of Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors. Please follow these instructions reprinted from their website to ensure you receive timely and complete compensation:

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FB SSG Update - Megaphone

Please note that we have removed a number of products from the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, our interactive product screening service:

  • All Ian’s Brand Products

This is not a product safety advisory: Elevation Brands – the parent company of Ian’s – has opted to withdraw from our Manufacturer Partnership. As we no longer have a relationship with the manufacturer that provides us with the timely product data we require from all partners, we are removing their products from our publications.

We hope Elevation Brands will rejoin our partnership at a later date. Until then, please direct all inquiries to the company.

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auvi-qAdditional information has been published clarifying the reason behind Sanofi’s recall of all Auvi–Q® and Allerject® epinephrine auto-injectors in the US and Canada.

While in their original press release, Sanofi stated the reason for the recall was “potential inaccurate dosage delivery”,  an article published Thursday evening by Dow Jone Business News quotes a spokeswoman for Sanofi stating the Auvi-Q devices in question “potentially delivered too little epinephrine or none at all.”

The company, which announced the recall while presenting their third-quarter results, expects the related costs to the firm will be $150 million in net income.

In regard to the availability of alternative auto-injectors, the article quotes a spokesman for CVS saying: “We don’t anticipate any widespread shortages or problems meeting demand”, and a Walgreens spokesman saying that about 95% of its stores have EpiPens in stock and are “in good position to meet any increased consumer demand.”

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epipenMylan Specialty, which markets and distributes the EpiPen® brand of epinephrine auto-injector, has issued a press release confirming they have adequate supply to meet the demand of consumers affected by the recent Auvi-Q® recall.

Says Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan:

heather breschWe are confident that the widespread familiarity with EpiPen® Auto-Injector established over more than 25 years, coupled with our robust training resources, will provide access and support for those impacted by the Auvi-Q® recall. Anaphylaxis is unpredictable, and should an emergency occur, patient preparedness and immediate access to reliable treatment is critical. Mylan continues to be committed to help ensure access to epinephrine, the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, and is working to provide a seamless transition for patients and their caregivers who may now be prescribed EpiPen® Auto-Injector.

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