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 allergen-free.

17 February 2015

Food Allergy Friendly? Mondelez Acquisition of Enjoy Life Foods

News of Enjoy Life Food's acquisition by Mondelez spread quickly on Facebook and Twitter yesterday. Enjoy Life management placed phone calls to prominent food allergy advocates to personally inform them of the news and reassure them that trusted Enjoy Life Foods would not change its practices. Management even responded to individual tweets and posts on Facebook to assure continuity to their customers. They are a class act and always have been.

Mondelez, the former parent company of Kraft Foods, is a world leader in snack foods, and manufactures popular snacks such as Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Triscuits and Trident gum. Mondelez has played a big role in fighting GMO labeling in California and Washington state, as well as other states. Despite its use of GMOs and its opposition to GMO labeling, however, Mondelez has made a shift toward trying to focus more on healthy eating by reducing the amount of saturated fats in its products, using more whole grains, and manufacturing more 100 calorie snack packages. The press release about the purchase of Enjoy Life Foods noted that the allergen-free company fits with the recent Mondelez focus on "better for you" foods.

I hope Mondelez will knock my socks off the way Enjoy Life Foods has. I think so highly of Enjoy Life Foods. Over the last several years, Enjoy Life Foods truly has set the standard for food allergy friendly off-the-shelf snacks in the United States. Enjoy Life Foods enjoys a well-deserved, stellar reputation, and has set the bar high for other manufacturers of food allergy friendly snack foods.Congratulations to Enjoy Life Foods on their success!

15 February 2015

Peanut Allergy Survey for Student's Science Fair Project

Please help a young student with his science fair project by answering his 3 question survey about peanut allergy. Here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/72ZG7MS

Thank you!

12 February 2015

Food Allergens in Paper Towel?

I just noticed a headline shared on Facebook by a few food allergy friends (Sharon W and Jody F), and I have to pass it on: "P&G to harness power of pecans, peanuts and scrap wood to make Charmin, Bounty." That's right, folks, Cincinnati Business Courier reports "Steam to run one of Procter & Gamble's largest paper manufacturing plants will soon be created by using peanut and pecan shells, treetops and mill waste such as sawdust."As the mother of a child with life threatening peanut and tree nut allergies, I have to wonder how that will affect the products. Will Charmin toilet paper and Bounty paper towel now be cross-contaminated with peanuts and pecans? What about the air emissions from that manufacturing plant?

02 February 2015

Food Allergy Consumer Labeling Woes

While labeling for the top 8 allergens has been an improvement for individuals managing food allergies in the United States, wouldn't it be so much better if food manufacturers were required to label ALL the ingredients in their food products? So many allergens can be hidden in "natural flavors", "fruit juices", or "spices". The recent cumin recalls really highlight this. Cumin and paprika--both in the recent recalls--are not required to be labeled by name on packaging in the United States. There is, consequently, no way to really know if a product contains cumin or paprika, or if it contains the contaminated cumin or paprika. This is causing quite a bit of alarm for those who only manage peanut and/or nut allergies, but we must recognize that this situation is everyday life for those living with allergies not included in the big 8, such as sesame allergy, black pepper allergy, celery allergy, etc.

I do not pretend to know how it would work or how it could be best implemented, but I do think this recent recall should be a good example of why we need better labeling still. Food allergies are on the rise, and the existing labeling requirements make it difficult at best to determine what foods are safe for those managing food allergies not included in the big 8. Peanut allergies always tend to get the most attention and the most play in media. If there is one positive thing that could come of these recalls, it should be that these recalls cause the very vocal peanut allergy community to rally together with the larger food allergy community and demand better labeling of ALL ingredients. We should seize this moment and make the most of it to promote such a change, thereby helping the entire food allergy community.

What do you think?

24 January 2015

Food Allergies Caused A Semantic Change in English

For some time, people have been using the words "Epi-pen", "Epipen" or "EpiPen"--a brand name of an epinephrine injector--for any epinephrine injector. EpiPen is manufactured by Mylan. The shortened "epi" is used as a noun, an abbreviation for epinephrine--"Don't forget your epis!" You may also have noticed a variant of the word EpiPen or epinephrine being used as a verb: "Did you have to epi her?"

I was just catching up on my reading and spotted a headline with yet another use of the word "epi-pen". Take a look!

The Chronicle Herald
In this Chronicle Herald headline, the author uses the word "epi-pen" to describe an emergency measure taken by the Bank of Canada. "So when the bank does do something surprising, as it did Wednesday in reducing its benchmark overnight borrowing rate from one per cent to 0.75 per cent, you can safely conclude it has a very good reason — even an urgent one."

So, when you feel like progress is slow in the world of promoting food allergy awareness, take heart! There is so much more awareness of food allergies today, the word "EpiPen"--which is the brand name of a life-saving device for those managing food allergies (and other allergic conditions)--is actually undergoing semantic changes and is being used in other contexts, completely unrelated to food allergies. When you think about it, that is amazing! Keep advocating, keep promoting food allergy awareness, it is making a difference slowly but surely.  That headline is proof of how the general public is more aware.

21 January 2015

Food Allergy Survey from Student Entrepreneurs in Portugal

I was so excited when three graduate students in Portugal contacted Food Allergy Buzz for assistance with a survey for a group project. The students are members of an Entrepreneurship Course promoted by Eugénio de Almeida Foundation in partnership with the I.E.F.P. (Portuguese government agency for Employment Services and Training) in Évora, Portugal. They are hoping to get input from individuals managing food allergies around the world about how food allergies affect their day-to-day lives. The survey results will help them determine the focus of their class project. Please click below to participate and support these student entrepreneurs' efforts!

The survey is open until February 8, 2015.

18 January 2015

Food Allergy Fright at Orange Julius

Here is a truly frightening story that happened only miles away from me. A young boy had a drink at Orange Julius at a local mall, after his father specifically verified with Orange Julius staff that the drink contained no egg since his son suffers from an egg allergy. The child began to drink, and it soon became obvious he had been exposed to eggs, for he was suddenly covered with hives and was experiencing a progressive anaphylactic reaction. The parents immediately went back to Orange Julius, where the worker then checked the package of flavoring only to discover that the flavoring actually did contain egg white. The parents--both ER medics--drove the child to a nearby hospital and thankfully he was ok. What a horrifying and unnecessary ordeal! The parents are pushing for better education of restaurant staff, and some changes have been made at the local Orange Julius, but this just underscores the need for better food allergy education of restaurant staff. Keep in mind this took place in Massachusetts, generally viewed as one of the leaders in food allergy friendliness in restaurants due to the Food Allergy Awareness Act of 2009! Yipes!!

Please watch this video of the local news report.
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