With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

20 August 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Product Review and Giveaway: WholeFruit Bars and Sorbet

The kids are headed back to school but summer’s not over yet! As they say, timing is everything. We’re in a little heatwave here in southeastern Massachusetts, and we at Food Allergy Buzz have been enjoying some delicious frozen treats courtesy of JJ Snack Company—WholeFruit Sorbet and Fruit Bars. 

In this part of Massachusetts, WholeFruit products are available at Demoulas Market Basket. You can use the WholeFruit product locator on the WholeFruit website to find out where the products are sold near you.

All WholeFruit products are fat free, gluten free and dairy free. They are also Kosher. Food Allergy Buzz asked for detailed information about ingredients and risk of cross-contact and  JJ Snack provided very complete information. In order to make sure we do not miss any important details, we are including JJ Snack's response below. They were very forthcoming and aware of the concerns of consumers managing food allergies.

"In regards to your allergen questions: All of our frozen novelties for Whole Fruit are gluten-free.  There is no gluten present at the plants that make these products.  At the location that makes our Whole Fruit Organic Juice and Whole Fruit Sorbet, there are no peanuts present at the plant.  The only tree nut that is present is Coconut, which is used for specific flavors.  There is, however, a presence of dairy and soy at this plant.  On the line that makes our Sorbet, there is only a presence of Milk & Soy.  On the line that makes our Organic Juice Tubes, there is a presence of Milk, Soy and Coconut. 

On the plant that makes our Whole Fruit Fruit Bars, there are no peanuts present at the plant.  The only tree nut that is present is Coconut, which is used for specific flavors.  There is a presence of dairy & soy at this plant.  Dairy, soy and Coconut are present on the line that makes our fruit bars.

We do have a cross contamination procedure that is practiced and followed at all of our plants.   All products containing milk are produced all at once.  When those products are complete, the machines are shut down and go through a three-part sanitation wash.  It is an automated sequence of a wash, rinse, and sanitation bath.  The final sanitation rinse and the first non-allergen batch of products are tested for allergens.  If the tests pass, then the batches are packed.  If they fail, the cycle repeats until they pass.  However, if this is something that you are very concerned with, it is better to be safe than sorry and not consume the product." 

The FAB Review
Dedicated facility: All facilities are gluten-free, peanut-free and tree nut free except coconut. Soy and dairy are present in the facilities. See above for details about shared and dedicated lines.
Appearance: colorful; nice packaging! Sorbet has plastic seal on each pint, underneath cover.
Taste: natural real fruity flavor. (The ingredients include fruit purees.)
Texture: smooth, not icey or creamy
Convenience: available at many supermarkets
Buy again? yes!

Cool Off with WholeFruit

18 August 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Epi-Trak

image from http://www.epi-trak.com/
Food allergy support groups and blogs are abuzz with back-to-school questions, concerns, and tips. For those with children and teens who self-carry their epinephrine auto-injectors, there is always the worry that the child or teen will forget to carry their epinephrine auto-injectors with them. Enter EPI-TRAK, an app that reminds you to check and make sure you have your epinephrine auto-injectors with you when you leave your home or whatever locations you program into the app’s settings. The app allows the use to program multiple locations.

Epi-Trak is available on Android and iOS. You can download Epi-Trak for free and the first 20 alerts are free as well. After the first 20 alerts, there is a one-time fee of $3.99.

For additional information, visit http://www.epi-trak.com/ . Epi-Trak is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

07 August 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Product Review: PhillySwirl

Disclosure: Food Allergy Buzz received complementary samples of PhillySwirl for this product review.

Sometimes there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cold treat from the freezer. PhillySwirl has become a go-to solution for those with top 8 food allergies in need of a frozen treat!

Philly Swirl is available at many supermarkets today and has quite a selection of frozen treats now. In July, we at Food Allergy Buzz sampled a selection of PhillySwirl treats, courtesy of our friends at PhillySwirl. We were excited to try PhillySwirl's ICEE MixItUp, Swirl Cups, Swirl Stix and Jungle Swirls. They really hit the spot on these hot summer days!

While we had enjoyed Swirl Cups and Swirl Stix previously, Jungle Swirls and ICEE Mix It Up were new to us. We enjoyed the fruit flavors in the Jungle Swirls as much as the sweet candy taste of the ICEE Mix It Ups. Also exciting, the Jungle Swirls are non-GMO too! In fact, we noticed some other new products on Philly Swirls' website are non-GMO as well. Every PhillySwirl product is so delicious, we would happily enjoy any or all of them again. In fact, we already do!

PhillySwirl is one of the few frozen treats consumers with food allergies can find in their grocer's freezer that actually states it is peanut free and made in a peanut free facility. It's extremely rare to find frozen treats that can make that claim and so state it right on the package and not just on the phone.  That's not all--the manufacturing facility for 3 out of the four products we sampled is also dairy free and gluten free, and none of the Philly Swirl products contain any high fructose syrup. The ICEE Mix It Up Stix are free of dairy ingredients but are not manufactured in a dairy free facility at this time. Every PhillySwirl product we sampled did not contain any of the top 8 most common food allergens. Moreover, all four samples were Kosher. That's pretty hard to beat!

Not only is PhillySwirl one of the most allergy friendly frozen treats on the market today, it also is available at a price that is budget friendly--usually around $2.99 for a box. And if you look at the calories, they are amazingly low calorie too--only between 40 and 50 calories each. It's a food allergy friendly win for Mom's budget (and waistline!), and you can pick them up a nearby supermarket!

The FAB Review: PhillySwirl
Dedicated facility: Yes. Some products are manufactured in a peanut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. Some products products are manufactured in a peanut-free and gluten-free facility.
Appearance: Eye-catching colors, fun packaging.
Taste: Sweet. Some flavors have a candy flavor and others fruity.
Texture: Similar to italian ice and other ice pops, but slightly more solid
Convenience: Very easy to find at supermarkets around the U.S.
Buy again? yes!

Reminder: Always check the label and ingredients to determine if a food is safe for the allergies you are managing!


21 July 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: "Is this safe?"

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40818260

If you have a question about a product...

Is this safe?
Is this made in a dedicated facility?
Is this made on shared lines?

Contact the manufacturer youself. It is SO easy to do! If they are not open, you can always email them and you will receive an answer soon enough, or just call when they do open.

We hear so much talk--especially lately!--about the risk of anaphylaxis, and yet so many parents post to a group of strangers on Facebook, asking if a food is safe? When it comes to a matter of life and death--especially for a child!--I would think most of us would prefer to get the information straight "from the horse's mouth." (the manufacturer)

Let's be honest, it is never that urgent to use a specific food item. There is always something else to eat. C'mon food allergy mommas, we owe our kids more!

Own your food allergies or your kids' food allergies. Do your own due diligence and teach your children to do the same. Contact the manufacturer yourself.

17 July 2017

News from Krispy Kreme for Consumers with Peanut Allergy

Today Krispy Kreme reached out to Food Allergy Buzz regarding a new donut with peanut ingredients that that will be introduced on July 24. I am copying and pasting the body of the message below for your information. 

"On July 24, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts will introduce a doughnut with peanuts and peanut ingredients in our shops and other locations where Krispy Kreme doughnuts are sold. Because the safety of our customers is our top priority, I wanted you and your community to be among the first in the U.S. to know about the introduction of this ingredient to our menu.

The introduction of this specific peanut menu item at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is new, but Krispy Kreme shops have never been allergy-free and specifically nut-free. Our shops have ingredients that can contain known allergens, including nuts. We receive ingredients from suppliers who produce products with allergens, including nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. While some shops do not sell products made with nuts on the menu, because of how our products are manufactured, none of our shops are ‘nut-free.’ Following national safety guidelines, we take many steps to clean machines and surfaces in our shops, but there is the possibility that trace allergens might be found in our products. As a result, we post and label known allergens and ask guests to make sure they check the post before entering our shops and the labels before consuming.

For more information about Krispy Kreme’s ingredients, please visit http://krispykreme.com/Nutritionals."

08 July 2017

Food Allergy Consumer News: An Epinephrine Tablet

By Carter Jake - http://www.nellis.af.mil/News/Art/igphoto/2001063097/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58277734

This is not the first time we have heard about it, but is probably a sign that it is closer to becoming a reality!

According to Meaghan St. Pierre of Click-On Detroit, "Researchers at Nova Southeastern University have been working for five years on a pill that might be an alternative to the EpiPen. It's a tablet that disintegrates in 10 to 15 seconds sending lifesaving epinephrine into the bloodstream."

To read the entire article which is entitled "Researchers working on alternative to EpiPen", visit the Click-On Detroit website.

There is no word on possible pricing yet.

01 July 2017

Food Allergies and Anxiety: New Study Out of Columbia

There is a new study out of Columbia Public Health (Columbia University's School of Public Health) linking childhood anxiety and food allergies. See "Researchers find link between food allergies and childhood anxiety" for a summary of the study. Obviously, a great deal more research is needed.
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18597
We really need a "whole child" approach to treating children with food allergies; we need allergists to treat the medical aspects of life with food allergies, and social workers or psychologists to help with the mental well-being aspects. There needs to be more collaboration between those two types of providers for patients with food allergies.

Since I began blogging in 2008, I have witnessed a massive uptick in the number of anxiety-ridden, overwhelmed parents in online food allergy support and discussion groups. Something needs to change in the way food allergies are being treated. Too many parents or even adult patients are at a loss about where to find answers about the day-to-day aspects of managing food allergies. When allergists send patients and their families back out into the world with just a diagnosis, a prescription for epinephrine injectors and instruction to avoid said allergen, they (the medical establishment) are doing a disservice to those patients. I urge parents of children with food allergies and adults with food allergies to be vigorous self-advocates. Call the allergist's office back with your questions. Go to your allergy appointments with a list of questions. Do not look for answers to your medical questions on Facebook or websites or blogs by non-medical professionals.

Food Allergy Buzz's favorite information sources for food allergies are listed below. They are accurate and always professional 

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