If you don’t know Lisa Rutter, you should. She’s the Director of Education & Community Outreach at FAACT (a wonderful food allergy advocacy) and Founder of the No Nuts Moms Group (a wonderful forum for moms of children with food allergies.) She has two boys – one with severe allergies to peanuts and tree nuts – and another child well on the way.
Yesterday, Lisa was interviewed by Michael Cohen on The Capital City Recap for WILS Radio, Lansing, to discuss the recent LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study that’s been all over the news. It’s a must-hear for every parent, but especially you food allergy moms struggling with internalizing yet another set of conflicting guidelines.
Hear Lisa describe the circumstances all food allergy parents deal with on a daily basis as well as the monumental decision she must make regarding the early introduction of peanuts in light of LEAP.
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According to a study led by Gideon Lack of King’s College London, babies at higher risk of developing peanut allergies fed the equivalent of four heaping teaspoons of peanut butter each week beginning between 4 to 11 months old were 80% less likely to develop peanut allergies by their fifth birthday.
Lack launched his study after noticing that Israeli children had a much lower incidence of peanut allergy than Jewish children in the UK and US. Israeli parents are known to give their children “Bamba” snacks made of peanut butter and corn at a very young age.
With funding from the US National Institutes of Health, Lack’s team identified 640 babies at risk of developing peanut allergies because they already had developed an egg allergy or eczema. Half the parents were asked to give their children Bamba snacks or peanuts in some other form before their first birthday.
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.
Announcing the launch of Allergence, a free service designed specifically for families coping with food allergies and celiac disease.
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.
See this promotional video describing the service:
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once 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.
The 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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