An 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.”
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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Mainstream publications serving the food and beverage industry are beginning to turn their attention to the issue of food allergies. We noted a previous article describing our Manufacturer Partnership Program and Safe Snack Guide in Food Navigator-USA last month. This time, Gourmet News, a publication dedicated to the Gourmet industry, is highlighting the issue.
This month’s edition features two front page articles intended to provide coverage and raise awareness within the industry. We’re proud to announce that SnackSafely.com founder, Debra Bloom, features prominently in both.
SnackSafely.com’s Manufacturer Partnership Program was highlighted in an article by Food Navigator-USA, a publication that caters to decision makers in food and beverage development in North America. The article, entitled “SnackSafely.com closing the allergen contamination knowledge gap” details our program to partner directly with manufacturers to have them disclose information regarding the processing of 11 allergens during the manufacture of their products.
As of this writing, over 21 manufacturers have joined the program with more to be announced later this week. Joining the program is free to manufacturers, who agree to provide manufacturing data via our proprietary portal. In return, all their qualifying products earn a listing in the Safe Snack Guide, our list of snacks free of peanuts, tree nuts and eggs relied upon by thousands of schools and tens of thousands of parents nationwide.
A current article in US News and World Report’s Eat+Run health and wellness section provides a valuable primer on how to plan a party when children with food allergies or dietary restrictions will be in attendance.
In “Planning an Allergy-Friendly Birthday Party”, author Tamara Duker Freuman describes her own experience planning a birthday party for her son and the strategies she developed to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all the children involved, including one with tree nut allergy and another following a vegan diet. She references SnackSafely.com and the Safe Snack Guide as go-to resources for finding appropriate treats for such occasions.
An excellent opinion piece by Curtis Sittenfeld entitled “Epipens for All” was published in today’s New York Times Sunday Review. The piece makes the case for support of the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act which has been passed by the House and awaits passage by the Senate.
An interview with Dr Kari Nadeu, Director of the Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research (SAFAR) at the Stanford University School of Medicine, aired this evening on the NPR radio show “Fresh Air” hosted by Terry Gross. The 14+ minute interview covered a range of topics including the explosion in the incidence of food allergies and epigenetics, the study of gene expression caused by outside factors in the environment.
We’re pleased to announce the publication of a new book geared toward teaching young children about food allergies. Nurse Teddy Bear Learns About Food Allergies by Ann Lempert Deutsch, RN, MSN, NJCSN, walks a young child through her first day at school introducing important concepts that children and parents need to know.
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