Our Story

A Mom, A Daughter with Food Allergies and a Mission

Baby Cake

I am the mother of a wonderful daughter who, like a large and growing number of  kids today, developed allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. As an estimated 5.9 million children have food related allergies, it seems everyone I meet knows a child at risk, be it their child, a relative, family friend or schoolmate.

As you may or may not know, even trace amounts of allergens when eaten by a child with food allergies can make them sick or cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Symptoms can come on suddenly and may include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the tongue and throat, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and in the most extreme cases, death. Food allergies cause an estimated 30,000 cases of anaphylaxis, 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths annually. And allergens don’t need to be consumed to wreak havoc; reactions may also occur with hand to eye, hand to mouth or mouth to mouth contact.

At present, there is no cure for food allergies. The best method for managing them is by way of strict avoidance of any food that may trigger a reaction.

You would think that reading a snack’s ingredient list is enough to safeguard a child with food allergies, but it isn’t. Even though a snack might not intentionally contain a given allergen, it might be prepared on equipment or manufactured in a plant where the ingredient is used and where a trace amount could find its way into the snack in question. Though labeling requirements in the United States are still not perfect or uniform, all companies must list the major allergen ingredients in a snack and some warn about allergens that may be introduced as part of the manufacturing process.

When my daughter started elementary school, I was miserable at the thought of having to keep her away from the fun school activities involving food like parties and holiday celebrations. I took it upon myself to compile a list of the snacks available locally that were safe to bring in to class and distributed it to the moms of the other kids in my daughter’s school. My request was simple: If you plan on buying a snack for a school function, please do so by selecting items from the list – all of which are commonly found in the supermarket. Often this is a matter of substituting one brand of pretzel for another or one type of goody for an equally tasty one and rarely does the choice affect the price.

Eventually, the list caught on and was circulated to other classes in my daughter’s school, other schools in the district, and eventually schools and organizations nationwide. This website was created so that others could benefit as well, allowing everyone access to the most updated version.

Click here for the Safe Snack Guide

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34 Responses to Our Story

  1. Kimberly says:

    I came across your website on my children’s schools webpage. What a great site you have! I read your article on making sesame a top allergy and want to know how to help. My son is allergic to sesame, all nuts, coconut, tomatoes, garlic, onions, oats, apples, oranges and corn. He had a severe allergic reaction to ketchup (before we knew about the tomato allergy) however the Dr feels it’s not the tomato but a spice in the ketchup. Heinz wouldn’t help us stating the recipe is proprietary and my son should just “avoid eating ketchup”. Explaining eating something with the same spice could kill him garnered no different response. With food allergies being so severe I wish the government would be more involved mandating they disclose what is in the food

  2. Eunice says:

    My son is also allergic to tree nuts, peanut and egg. I am mom, but I am also a physician -I’ve never thought that my family can have allergies, and when I found out my son’s allergies, it was really frustrating and scary even with my medical background. I always try hard to keep my boy safe, but I can’t be with him always. And there was even a moment that he had anaphylaxis.

    Anyway, I found this amazing site when I tried to find egg-free cookie recipe.
    Thank you so much for your website. I really hope that through your site,the more people can have better understanding of food allergies.

  3. Laura says:

    This site is amazing, thank you so much for taking the time to create and update such an invaluable resource! My daughter has severe nut allergies and I have spent a lot of time creating my own list of safe foods to share with her school, family and friends but I was thrilled to discover your list to supplement mine. I have shared this with many friends and teachers, I truly appreciate the time and effort you have put into this.

  4. Jessica says:

    Our school is one of the many that went completely peanut and tree nut free this year. While this is not an issue for me, many parents have expressed their outrage. I feel this website is a fantastic tool for schools and parents, and I have passed it on to our school principal to help with the transition. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  5. Tracy says:

    Thank you, thank you so much for doing this. My daughters also have numerous anaphylaxis allergies such as egg,peanuts,nuts, shellfish, oat, meats….This list gives me a great starting point. Now I don’t have to worry about egg and nuts. I just have to use this and check if it is free of oat/shellfish/meats/gelatin/soy. Thank you again for all your hard works. I will definitely share this list with her school.

  6. leslie says:

    I just found out about your website from my church. They are trying to make the snack room for workers nut-free (the class rooms already are in the preschool area). My son is allergic to tree nuts, eggs, peanuts and wheat, so I am planning to share your list with his school when he starts pre-k next year.

    Thanks for your hard work!

  7. Jamie says:

    Thank you so much for this invaluable resource. It is so scary and very discouraging to not have many resources available, and this makes my family’s life just a little easier since finding out about our daughter’s allergies. You guys rock!

  8. Lorraine says:

    I am so grateful for all your dedication in compiling and sharing this list. My 3 year old has recently been diagnosed with a severe cashew/pistachio allergy, but we have been advised to avoid all PN & TN. I was lost and anxious after his diagnosis, not knowing were to start. Your list has meant I have some safe snacks to give him, buying me time to research & educate myself.
    My only suggestion is if you could extend the list to include breakfast cereals, as my son is still young enough to snack on those and these were one of the first foods I needed to find out about.
    Thank you again, great work!

  9. ashley says:

    this is amazing! im 24 & randomly got tested….never had a reaction in my life. peanuts and tree nuts came back positive…but they said it was barely positive…what the heck does that mean?!? gah! im gonna get re tested soon because im 7 weeks pregnant and scared to try anything new and only have a few safe foods :’-(

  10. Bridget says:

    I have a student with a soy and peanut allergy. Do you have a soy list as well? If so, I would love one.
    thank you!!

    • Dave says:

      Not yet, Bridget – but we are close to rolling out some new features which will allow us to accommodate soy as well as the other FALCPA allergens. Stay tuned!

  11. Nicole Moynihan says:

    Words cannot describe how happy I am to have found your website. I’ve spent the past month waiting to have my daughter tested and then waiting for the results after we have a big scare on Easter. I was so upset that no where on the internet could I find a list of safe foods. Then someone emailed me your link. Last night we received the news that my daughter does in fact have a severe peanut allergy. I think having your list is what is keeping me sane today. Thank you so much for doing this. Following you on Facebook too now!

  12. Kathy Gallagher says:

    Thanks for putting together such a great list. I just shared it with our baseball team- 3 of 11 kids on the team are allergic to nuts. Your list saved me a great deal of time & effort and will help keep our whole team safe:) thanks!

  13. Barb Freebairn says:

    Thank you so much for the list of safe snacks! Both my children are peanut & tree nut allergic, I’ve compiled lists before for classmates parents but this is so comprehensive. It’s wonderful! I printed it out for my daughters preschool and will also be sending it in to my sons elementary school (which is in dire need of food allergy awareness).
    Thank you for all your hard work! This is a great site.

  14. Jerri says:

    Thank you for all your hard work for putting together this list. My son had a reaction almost a week ago. We are in the process of detemining if it a peanut, tree nut, anf sunflower seed allergy (maybe all of them). This list gives me some snack options for him. Thank you again.


  15. Jerri says:

    Thank you for the snack list. My son recently had a reaction. We are currently in the process to determine if it is peanuts, tree nuts, and sunflower seed allergy. This will help me plan snacks for him.


  16. Kim Tran says:

    Thank you so much for compiling this list and sharing your story. I am comforted in knowing that I am not alone in the food allergy world. I am also relieved to see so many products on the list that don’t contain eggs. My 16 month- old son has an egg allergy and it has been frustrating to figure out what he can and cannot eat. I am so glad to come across your website. Thanks for your time !

  17. Ashwini says:

    This is a really wonderfully compiled list. My nephew stays in UK and has mutiple food allergies. I have spent hours every year he visits figuring out which American products he can eat. Unfortunately the British brands that work for him are not available here. This list is a big help!
    Keep up the good work

  18. Theresa says:

    My son was diagnosed only a week ago with a tree nut allergy and I have spent countless hours trying to figure out what he can eat, can’t eat, etc. This is so helpful and I can’t thank you enough for putting this together. I feel much less overwhelmed and can’t wait to show him this list and tell him all the things he can eat!

  19. Lisa Stepanick says:

    THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH for creating this extensive list, I know this took hours and hours of work. I have already shared this with friends, and appreciate your dedication. Thank you for sharing!!

  20. Thanks so much for your hard work on this list! I’m glad to see mention above of possibly adding milk or other issues—my daughter is severely allergic to sesame, tree nuts, mustard, peanuts, milk and eggs, so we have been struggling to create our own updated safe snack list for her preschool. Your list is amazing but unfortunately many of the snacks on the list are very dangerous for her (due to milk, sesame, or mustard). But I will use it as a starting point for some ideas for my own list.

  21. Jill Evans says:

    Thank you so much for your list and for sharing your story. My child is starting school this year. I am struggling with the thought of having to trust so many people to do “the right thing” to protect my child. Your story hit home!

  22. Liz says:

    Thanks so much for this list! We just found out our 4 year old is allergic to peanuts and it is so overwhelming at first. This list is so helpful!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for your wonderful updated list! I am always asked about safe snacks for my peanut/tree nut allergic daughter, and now you have provided an easy solution. Thanks! For the first time my 5 year old daughter will be attending a school that is not peanut/tree nut free, and your information has helped to
    calm my nerves and is a great resource. Thank you!

  24. Janet Kamenick says:

    I can’t figure out where to email a comment for an addition for your list. Philly Swirl Italian Ice cups (6 pk), bars (12 pk) and cups with candy sticks (6 pk) are milk, egg, pn/tn free. They are a dedicated pn/tn free facility.

    Love your list! Wish you’d do the leg work to have a list of milk, egg, wheat, pn/tn free snacks. I have a list for my school that is the products that we use on a regular basis but a more extensive list would be great!

    Thanks again!

    • Dave says:

      Janet, thanks for the kind words. We’ve put your snack suggestions on our followup list.

      The reason why this list specifically addresses peanuts, tree nuts and eggs is because those are the foods our daughter is allergic to! Due to the overwhelming response we have received, we plan to address the other FALCPA allergens (including milk and wheat) as well as gluten, so stay tuned!

  25. tom polipnick says:

    This list is amazing!! Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to keep your and our children safe.

  26. Caren says:

    We just found out our 4 yr old daughter is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. Can’t thank you enough for creating this guide!!!

  27. Andrea says:

    I have been looking for a good list of peanut free snacks, people are usually willing to comply but have trouble reading labels. This is such a great list, thanks for all the work you have done.

  28. Caroline says:

    Your guide is just the best! I shared it today and it was a hit!!!!! Thank you for your time and energy, you have done what so many of us wish we could do. Thank you.

  29. Val Weinstein says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I will share the list with our Hebrew School families.

  30. Adrianne Braun says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for to share with my child’s classmates (and parents). Our school’s campus is nut-free, and this list will help everyone comply with ease!

  31. Ann Deutsch says:

    I think it is excellent. The second paragraph is strong and scary, however it is realistic. I am curious where you found the info for 5.9 million children, I could not find it.

    I think it is such a valuable site and wish you luck. I thank you for putting it together, it has helped me immensely.

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