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Allergic Living’s site features an exclusive interview with Dr Helen Brough, lead author of a British study showing an association between high levels of peanut residue in homes, genetic factors for eczema, and increased incidence of peanut allergy.

The study examined peanut residue by vacuuming the sofas in 577 UK homes with babies in the first year of life. These children were later revisited at 8 and 11 years old and tested for peanut allergy along with a mutation in their genes associated with eczema. The results showed that children with the mutation were 3 times as likely to develop peanut allergy in homes with 3 times the quantity of peanut residue found in the household dust.

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Announcing the launch of Allergence, a free service designed specifically for families coping with food allergies and celiac disease.

allergen-profile

You’ve heard us drone on about the issue many times: Due to lax regulations, the estimated 15 million Americans suffering with food allergies can’t rely on the label alone to determine whether a product is safe for them. Though manufacturers are required to disclose when each of the top eight allergens is an ingredient of a product, the FDA does not require warnings of potential cross-contamination, such as “May contain traces of peanuts” and “Manufactured in a facility that also processes sesame”.  You may think a product is safe if these warnings are absent, but you can’t know for sure – especially in cases where there are warnings for some allergens and not others.

Allergence bridges this “ambiguity gap” by going beyond the label to provide consumers detailed information regarding how 11 allergens are processed during the manufacture of each product. We track the FDA’s top 8 (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish) as well as gluten, sesame and mustard, and tell you when each is processed in the same line or facility or whether the product is explicitly marketed free of that allergen. We’ll also tell you whether each product has obtained industry recognized kosher, organic, gluten-free and non-GMO certifications.

Opt to enter allergen profiles for the allergic members of your family and Allergence will advise you whether or not each product meets your stated requirements, taking much of the legwork (and guesswork) out of finding products that are suited to your family’s food restrictions. (We will not share this information with third parties in keeping with our strict privacy policy!)

See this promotional video describing the service:

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Pretzel!

Please note that we have removed two product lines from the Safe Snack Guide due to changes in manufacture:

  • Sensible Portions (Garden Veggie Straws, Garden Veggie Chips)
  • Garden of Eatin’ Tortilla Chips (all varieties)

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Pretzel!Please note that we have removed a number of products from the Safe Snack Guide:

  • Ritz Crackers – all varieties.

We received a report that two sleeves of the Peanut Butter variety of Ritz Crackerfuls were packaged in a box of the Classic Cheddar variety. Though the individual sleeves were clearly labeled as containing the Peanut Butter variety, this could have  led to unthinkable consequences had the error not been discovered by an observant parent before the treat was given to a child.

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luckett

Once again, world attention is focused on the story of a 15 year old boy from the UK who died of peanut cross-contact. Rather than focus solely on the incident itself, we’ll highlight common sense strategies to help avoid tragedies like this in the first place.

Background

William Luckett had had his first food allergy reaction at four years old and was diagnosed with a nut allergy at age six. At that time he was given a prescription for epinephrine auto-injectors which he never needed to use. Over time, with the absence of reactions, the family stopped filling the prescriptions.

In December 2012, William was visiting his father on the Isle of Wight and was having ribs for dinner, takeout from a local Chinese restaurant. He began experiencing classic symptoms of anaphylaxis: difficulty breathing and swelling of the lips. Despite his father’s efforts, William lost consciousness and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital.

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ncstate

As many of our readers are well aware, peanuts are the leading cause of severe food-related allergic reactions in the US. Though Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) and related treatments that expose the subject to flour containing small, but increasing amounts of peanut protein are showing promise, there is a danger of anaphylactic reaction throughout the therapy.

Researchers at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute are experimenting with new therapy media that combine the traditional peanut flour used in OIT with plant polyphenols found in many fruits and vegetables. When the peanut protein in the flour is bound to polyphenols derived from plants like blackcurrant, cinnamon, cranberry and green tea, they appear to become much less allergenic in lab tests. Tests in mice with a cranberry derivative/peanut flour combination appeared to trigger the desired desensitization without the dangerous reactions that can occur.

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Connor DonaldsonOnce again, a child’s death caused by anaphylaxis is receiving attention in the media, this time in the UK. The loss is yet another in a long line of horrific, preventable tragedies, but there are lessons to be learned from the details of the child’s exposure and the subsequent attempts at first aid.

Connor Donaldson, a 12 year-old boy from Greater Manchester with severe asthma and a severe peanut allergy, died October 19, 2013 after ingesting a few bites of curry the family had taken out from a nearby restaurant.

His mother had discussed the allergy with a staff member of the restaurant over the phone prior to ordering. She was assured that their dishes would contain no peanuts.

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HolidayHillThe food allergy community was abuzz last week with the news that Mary Baxley, a paraprofessional at Holiday Hill Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, received a 10-day suspension for bringing peanut butter cookies to celebrate a student’s birthday in a peanut-free classroom. But what should parents of children with food allergies learn from the incident?

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Chantel Giacalone

Chantel Giacalone, a 27 year old actress and model with a severe peanut allergy from West Bloomfield, MI, was visiting a friend in Las Vegas a year ago. On February 20, 2013, she unknowingly bit into a pretzel that contained peanut butter and suffered full-blown anaphylaxis.

“She went into cardiac arrest twice – four and a half minutes both times,” said Maria Lamia, Chantel’s aunt.

Chantel was placed on life support in a hospital in Las Vegas. Thousands of dollars were raised to have her airlifted to a hospital in Michigan, where she was finally released in November.

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cambridge

The results of a 3 year study of the effectiveness of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) for desensitization of peanut allergy in children was published today in the medical journal The Lancet.

The study, co-sponsored by the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, followed 85 children aged 7-16 with confirmed peanut allergy from January 2010 through March 2013.

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