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.
We received many questions regarding those “May contain…” type messages you find on labels after our Time article yesterday. With that in mind, here’s a 10 second quiz to see how well you know what those warnings really mean:
The following are allergen warnings you might find on a product that does not contain the allergen as an ingredient. Simply put them in order of safest to most risk that the product contains traces of the allergen:
A – May contain allergen
B – Manufactured in a facility that also processes allergen
C – Manufactured on equipment that also processes allergen
D – May contain traces of allergen
E – [No statement]
You have 10 seconds while we bring you this graphic. Go!
As reported in the Daily Mail, a new UK study published in the medical journal Allergy finds that for every child diagnosed with a milk allergy via blood and skin prick tests, another goes undiagnosed that will suffer a reaction.
Dr Kate Grimshaw, a specialist pediatric dietitian at Southampton Children’s Hospital, reported that not all allergies can be detected by measuring levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody, which is linked to allergic reactions.
Dr Grimshaw, who participated in the EuroPrevall study funded by the European Union, said:
We know that sometimes if a child is seen for a possible food allergic reaction – to any food, not just milk – but tests show there is no measurable IgE, then a possible food reaction may be ruled out, when in fact the child may be reacting to the food, just not via IgE. This research will hopefully highlight to GPs and non-allergy specialists that just because an IgE test is negative, the child may in fact be reacting to a food and further investigations should be carried out.
The study, which followed over 9,000 babies from nine European countries until age two, found that 1.3% of children from the UK reacted to milk within two hours, but only 45% had IgE levels associated with symptoms.
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.
It’s been seven years since Brian Hom lost his son BJ to an anaphylactic reaction in 2008 while on vacation in Mexico to celebrate BJ’s high school graduation. Since then, Brian has been a tireless advocate for the food allergy community.
In memory of BJ Hom, please take a few moments to see this video entitled “Food Allergies Don’t Take Vacations”. Even if you’ve seen it before, this cautionary tale will remind you of the stakes involved when anaphylaxis strikes:
Our thoughts are with the Hom family. May Brian’s work and BJ’s legacy save the lives of many others suffering with severe food allergies.
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We read about the tragedies on a regular basis: yet another person succumbs to anaphylaxis because their auto-injectors were left home on a kitchen counter, in a medicine cabinet, or buried in a drawer somewhere.
Our readers know we border on obsessive when reminding people to Take 2 auto-injectors along everywhere… every time. Why 2? In case one malfunctions or a single dose is not enough to stop the progression of symptoms.
We want to know what you do to remind yourself or your family to Take 2.
Janet Sorrells Hagerman has an innovative solution she recently posted in the Peanut Allergy and Anaphylaxis Awareness Facebook group:
My kiddos self carry and sometimes have had a hard time remembering to grab their epipens before we leave the house. So this was my idea to help them remember their pens every time.
Sticky hooks on the door heading out to the garage. They have remembered them every time since. They can hook these insulated pouches on their belts or whatever they may be carrying. It’s in a great place to help them remember when they are walking out the door. Just thought I’d share if anyone else may have issues of kiddos forgetting their pens.
We are pleased to announce a number of new products from two members of our Manufacturer Partnership, but before we do, here’s a few changes we made to better accommodate them.
First, we added a new category: Health Foods and Supplements. While it’s true that many partner products are organic, non-GMO and might be considered health foods, this category is reserved for specific products the average consumer might consider “nutrition boosters”. (Though many of them are also used as basic cooking and baking ingredients.)
Second, we made a change to the Safe Snack Guide to match how we group products in Allergence, our product screening service: we split Baking Chocolate and Chocolate Chips into a separate category from Baking/Flours/Mixes to make it a bit easier to find the products you’re looking for.
On to the new products:
Red Plate Foods, a family owned business located in Oregon known for their delicious Top-8 free vegan cookies and muffins, has introduced a new line of nut-free (worry-free) granolas. Click here to learn more about Red Plate Foods and their products. [The owner of Red Plate Foods, Becca Williams, recently contributed a wonderful article explaining what you can do to encourage your local market to stock more Free From products entitled: “Editorial: Food Allergy Shoppers, Speak Up!“]
Giddy Yoyo, a company based in Ontario specializing in raw, organic, nutrient dense foods, has extended their line of organic chocolate and cacao products and added a number of health foods and supplements, including frozen organic wheatgrass juice and spirulina powder. Click here to learn more about Giddy Yoyo and their products.
We’re pleased to announce the addition of new products from a long-time member of our Manufacturer Partnership Program.
Click the following links to see details of each variety including how they are manufactured with regard to the 11 allergens we track: All Purpose Flour Mix, Brownie Mix, Muffin Mix, Pancake + Waffle Mix, Pizza Crust Mix.
Our congratulations to Lynda Mitchell, founder of Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), for 10 wonderful years of service to the food allergy community!
KFA is a web-based patient education and support organization serving families raising children with food allergies and anaphylaxis, hosting the nation’s largest online community of such families, currently 45,000 members strong. Its website and social media outreach help more than one million visitors annually.
Lynda was inspired to found KFA by her son’s own health struggles. Through the KFA, she has dedicated herself to educating families and caregivers about how they can keep their children safe and healthy.
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We’re pleased to announce the addition of new products from a long-time member of our Manufacturer Partnership Program. These products now appear in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, our product screening service.
Lucy’s is dedicated to the best practices in allergen safety. They carefully exclude wheat/gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts from their products and plant. And, best of all, their treats taste great! They offer a wide range of flavors and several pack sizes for lunches and travel. (Click to learn more about Lucy’s and their products.)
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