Superhero Mom

Mother’s Day is almost here! Before you sign off to enjoy the weekend, we want to express our sincerest thanks to all you moms out there, especially those of you who battle every day to keep your kids safe in the face of their food allergies.

We know it’s often a thankless job, one that your family, friends, and neighbors may not fully appreciate. But we also know that beneath that disguise of yours beats the heart of a superhero, one who makes the world a safer place for a child threatened by dangers the public never sees.

So to you, Moms, we send our best wishes for a wonderful Mother’s Day from your friends at SnackSafely.com!


(And as we always do, we remind you to Take 2 along with you when you celebrate!)

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AllergicLiving LogoThe May edition of the Allergic Living News Report – dedicated to Food Allergy Awareness Month – features a free, must-read e-booklet entitled: “18 Things You Need to Know About Food Allergy Reactions”.

This resource as especially valuable for families coping with food allergies as well as teachers, school nurses, restauranteurs, and everyone else that deals with the public in a setting involving food. Distributed as an easy-to-download PDF that can be viewed on your ebookletPC, tablet and phone, it provides a summary of important facts, strategies, and statistics to keep in mind should you or a loved one experience (or suspect) an anaphylactic reaction. The publication is structured in an easy-to-read read conversational format and covers many topics such as “Severe reactions: are they rare or frequent?”, “Define anaphylaxis”, and “When antihistamines don’t measure up”.

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hershey-logoWe field hundreds of questions each month about our Safe Snack Guide, a resource relied upon by thousands of schools and tens of thousands of parents nationwide to keep peanuts and tree nuts out of the classroom and the home.

Most are for products from companies that have yet to join our Manufacturer Partnership, the ones denoted in the Guide by black bullets. For these, we make a best effort to verify they are not produced on shared lines where peanuts and tree nuts are also processed, and we do this generally by starting with the consumer service line.

Recently, we’ve had a number of inquiries regarding Hershey’s Kisses and 1.55oz Milk Chocolate Bars, the two Hershey’s brand items listed in the Guide. We decided it was time to revisit the safety of these products by reaching out to the Hershey Company directly and requesting an official response from the firm. Our inquiry was specific: Are these items made on shared lines with peanuts and tree nuts?

We received the following response from Jeff Beckman, Director of Corporate Communications for the Hershey Company:

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02-peanutsA study of the accidental exposure of children with physician-confirmed peanut allergy was published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Allergy earlier this month.

The parents of 1941 children were recruited from Canadian allergy clinics and allergy advocacy organizations over a ten year period beginning in 2004, who completed questionnaires regarding the accidental exposure to peanuts of their children over the preceding year and the results were correlated.

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One question we often field generally reads something like this:

Dear SnackSafely.com:

This product has a statement that says “Contains: Wheat” but doesn’t mention anything about the peanut oil listed as an ingredient! If I wasn’t such a careful label reader I would have missed it entirely! Should I report them?

Signed,
Irate in Indiana

To answer questions like Irate’s, we need to take a close look at a clause in Section 203 of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 – often referred to as FALCPA, the law that mandates how food products must be labeled with regard to allergens.

Here’s the clause in question (with the emphasis ours):

The term `major food allergen’ means any of the following:

(1) Milk, egg, fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.

(2) A food ingredient that contains protein derived from a food specified in paragraph (1), except the following:

(A) Any highly refined oil derived from a food specified in paragraph (1) and any ingredient derived from such highly refined oil.

(B) A food ingredient that is exempt under paragraph (6) or (7) of section 403(w).”.

So highly refined oils are exempt from the allergen labeling regulations mandated by FALCPA.

VioletWell, we know the Dowager Countess of Grantham (our favorite character from Downton Abbey) is highly refined, but what exactly are highly refined oils and why are they treated differently from the foods from which they are derived?

In a nutshell, highly refined oils are edible oils “resulting from a process that involves de-gumming, neutralizing, bleaching, and deodorizing the oils extracted from plant-based starting materials such as soybeans and peanuts.”

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Branstad

“An Act relating to the maintenance and administration of epinephrine in schools and certain other facilities” was signed into into law by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Friday.

Senate File 462 provides for:

  • Licensed healthcare professionals to prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors in the name of an accredited school or district;
  • Schools to obtain stock epinephrine for administration by trained personnel;
  • “Good Samaritan” provisions to indemnify such personnel from liability when administering epinephrine in good faith;
  • Students to self carry and self administer epinephrine when necessary.

Unfortunately, the new law does not mandate schools obtain stock epinephrine and provides no funding for them to do so.

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FAACTFundRaiser2015Picture 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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Pretzel!

We’re pleased to announce the addition of two new members to our Manufacturer Partnership Program whose products now appear in the Safe Snack Guide as well as Allergence:

  • 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.

We issued a press release welcoming both national brands to the Manufacturer Partnership.

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Products will be showcased in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, resources trusted by schools and the allergic community.

prquoteNew 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.

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patchIn 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.”

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