As 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.
Please note that we have removed a product from the Safe Snack Guide due to a change in labeling, manufacture, or disclosure:
- ShopRite Red White Blue Pops 12 Pack
We have confirmed with a representative of the Wakefern Food Corporation, the manufacturer of many ShopRite brand products, that this item is currently manufactured in a line that also processes tree nuts.
Also note that we incorrectly identified Vermont Nut Free Fudge with the advisory [EGG processed in Facility] when in fact it should have been identified with the advisory [Contains EGG]. This has now been corrected and we apologize for the error.
We 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:
It’s spring time and that means it’s time for the Easter Edition of the Safe Snack Guide!
We’ve added a full page of Easter-themed goodies free of peanuts, tree nuts, and (in many cases) eggs. Some can be purchased at the corner market, others can be ordered on-line.
Once again, apologies to our readers who celebrate Passover. We are still searching for safe products that are nut-free and certified kosher for the holiday. If you know of any such products, please let us know.
Please note that we have removed two products from the Safe Snack Guide due to a disclosure from the manufacturer.
After a discussion with Lisa Guzzo, Consumer Relations Manager of Just Born Quality Confections, we have decided to delist MIKE AND IKE® and HOT TAMALES® from the Guide.
While these iconic products are manufactured in a facility that does not process peanuts or tree nuts, a small portion of their products are packaged by third-parties that may use equipment that is also used for products containing these allergens. Although the firm’s labeling policy includes voluntarily labeling for potential cross contamination of the “Top 8″ allergens, we have decided to remove their products from the Guide in keeping with our policies. Consumers should address questions or concerns regarding Just Born brands by calling them toll free at 1-888-645-3453 or visiting them online at www.justborn.com.
On February 23rd at this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in Houston, a study was presented regarding incidence of anaphylaxis in schools during the 2013-2014 school year, confirming the need for stock epinephrine.
Of 5683 schools that responded to the study survey, a total of 919 anaphylactic events were reported by 11% of the schools. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Nana Creme – Nana Creme is a Vegan, non-GMO, and Allergen-Friendly Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (“ice cream”), free of Gluten, Dairy, Nuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, and Eggs and made with REAL ingredients.
- JTM Foods – Founded in 1986, JTM Foods is the largest producer of snack pies in North America, selling over 100 million pies each year. Sold under the JJ’s Bakery brand name, their pies use fresh dough and real fruit fillings made from scratch every day in their Erie PA bakery.
Congratulations to the people of New Jersey with the signing of A304/S801 – NJ’s stock epinephrine bill – into law by Governor Chris Christie.
Epinephrine is the only drug used to treat anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction. “Stock” refers to epinephrine that is not specifically prescribed to an individual but can be used on anyone that is displaying symptoms of anaphylaxis.
We’re happy to announce that we’ve added a conversation heart product to the Valentine’s Day 2015 Edition of the Safe Snack Guide.
Smarties Love Hearts are marketed free of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, wheat, and soy by their manufacturer, providing a readily available option to families coping with these food allergies. [NOTE: We earlier made the assertion that these were corn-free which was NOT correct. Our sincere apologies.]
Special thanks to our readers Sarah Albert and Elizabeth Arras for taking the time to suggest this product!
The Valentine’s Day 2015 Edition of the Safe Snack Guide has arrived with an entire section devoted to goodies for that special someone with a peanut, tree nut or egg allergy. It’s also a great resource if you are planning a classroom celebration where children with food allergies will be present. (As always, we stress that the parents should always be the final arbiters of any food given to a child with food allergies!)
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