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.

24 April 2017

Food Allergy Consumer: Introducing Peanut with Simply-Peanut

This post is brought to you by Simply-Peanut.

Simply-Peanut is a product which came about in response to the results of the LEAP study. As you may know, in early 2015, the results of the LEAP study were released in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results of the LEAP study demonstrated that "consumption of a peanut-containing snack by infants who are at high-risk for developing peanut allergy prevents the subsequent development of allergy." (http://www.leapstudy.com/leap-study-results#.WP5rmYWcG3A) Then, in January 2017, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), issued an addendum to the clinical guidelines of when to introduce peanut to children. "The guidelines now recommend that children at high risk should be introduced to peanuts early in life, instead of avoiding all peanut-containing foods." (http://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/early-peanut-introduction)

The LEAP study found that consumption of peanut resulted in an "86.1% relative reduction in prevalance of peanut allergy." (Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumptionin Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy, p.5)  Since the release of the LEAP Study and the new guidelines, I have observed a number of parents of older children with peanut allergy seeking advice in online food allergy support groups about how best to feed their infant peanut, to hopefully prevent development of peanut allergy. Aside from feeding your child Bamba snacks, there are few options for introducing peanut to infants and toddlers. Peanut butter is not a safe option for small children as it is a known choking hazard. Enter Simply-Peanut, a packet of organic peanut powder. It is GMO-Free and Kosher, and each packet is just 0.07 ounces. It can be added to milk, formula, or water in a bottle or cup, or food. 

Simply-Peanut was founded by Stan, a father who could not find many options for introducing his young daughter to peanut consumption after hearing about the LEAP Study. After consulting with pediatricians and other experts, he came up with the idea of making packets of peanut powder available to add to drinks and food. It's a simple and discreet way to introduce infants and young children to peanut, and hopefully prevent them from developing peanut allergy. Moreover, Simply-Peanut is not just for children at high risk, but is for all children starting at 4 months of age.

Parents should consult their pediatrician for advice before introducing peanut products to children and infants, especially if there is any allergy or eczema in the family. 

Simply-Peanut is offering Food Allergy Buzz readers a discount with the code "peanutABuzz." Visit http://www.simply-peanut.com/ for more information and to purchase Simply-Peanut now. You can also find Simply-Peanut on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

21 April 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Auvi-Q "AffordAbility" and Ordering

Kaleo, the manufacturer of Auvi-Q, contacted me and a number of food allergy bloggers prior to and after the re-release of Auvi-Q. I agreed to speak with a Kaleo executive just once; it’s very important to me that Food Allergy Buzz remain a neutral and objective source of food allergy consumer information as much as possible. This is why Food Allergy Buzz tends not to have advertisements.

Auvi-Q was re-released in early 2017. My son and I are huge fans of the Auvi-Q device because of its compact size. Teen boys in particular have a difficult time finding a discreet way to carry Epi-pens, so the Auvi-Q is a particularly welcome addition to the epinephrine auto-injector marketplace. I am hoping there will not be any recalls or problems with the new and improved Auvi-Q. There is no question--a smaller, more discreet, easier to carry autoinjector is definitely preferable over the old bulky Epi-pen, but I still wonder, can we rely on it?

What follows is a description of the ordering process we experienced. I decided to not order an Auvi-Q immediately after re-launch, but rather hold off and wait a bit. It has been about three months since its re-launch and I have not heard any negative feedback, so here we go! Now that we have ordered Auvi-Q, I continue to have mixed feelings about the cost and payment for Auvi-Q. "The Pharmacy" called to confirm shipping information within a couple of hours of receiving my son's prescription. I had to ask the representative "Which pharmacy?" It struck me as odd that the representatives who called each identified themselves as calling from "The Pharmacy", as though there is only one pharmacy. Why not identify themselves by the actual pharmacy name, Aspin?

Without prompting, the representative then proceeded to inform me that although our insurance does not cover Auvi-Q, we can still receive it at no charge to us.  They had already received our health insurance information directly from our allergist along with the prescription. I have read the articles about Kaleo's unique pricing of Auvi-Q and I have an uncomfortable feeling about it. I feel no reassurance or comfort upon hearing that my out-of-pocket cost is zero because I have this feeling I am still paying for it or will pay for it in the future, one way or another. To read about Auvi-Q Pricing and the AffordAbility Program, please visit the AffordAbility website.

I had been told by the allergist that there is a 4-6 week waiting period but the Aspin representative told me we would receive the Auvi-Q within 2 business days. The Aspin representative also informed me that there is no tracking number for the package and no email or text confirmation of the order. I find that a little strange. Then, the representative tells me that she is calling from New Jersey but that the actual prescription will be filled by a local pharmacy, close to where I live. I am trying to understand why it is only being sent through the mail, if the prescription is being filled by a local pharmacy. Maybe the local pharmacies have no storefronts? Wouldn’t less overhead mean a cheaper price (even if it is paid by the insurance companies not us)? I am left with more questions than I had when the allergist wrote the prescription. Why is this process so mysterious? 

Now, I am waiting to see if the Auvi-Q will be delivered on the appointed date. There has been a lot discussion about the delays, so if delivery is as promised, I will be pleasantly surprised, and it will have turned out to be a fairly quick and easy process. I know my son will be very happy to head back to school with a much more discreet epinephrine autoinjector. Here's hoping!

UPDATED April 22, 2017
I am sorry to report that the Auvi-Q Prescription was not delivered to us as promised. Very disappointing. I will be calling Aspin Pharmacy to check on its status. Not sure what power I will have as a consumer since I have paid zero for this prescription. Strike 1 against Kaleo.

20 April 2017

Food Allergy Buzz Around New England: Northeast Food Allergy Product & Resource Expo

Time is ticking away! So get your calendar out and buy your tickets for the Northeast Food Allergy Product and Resource Expo in Marlborough, MA on Sunday, April 30! Tickets will be $5 more at the door. Use the code #FOODALLERGY for $5 off a family 4 pack and $2 off a single ticket.

Allerware, a Massachusetts-based company founded by Marci Komssi, is presenting the first ever Northeast Food Allergy Product and Resource Expo. There will be a presentations from highly regarded speakers Gina Mennett Lee, Rita Schiano, and Laurel Francoeur. Many food allergy friendly vendors will be there to share and sell their products. There also will be face painting and other activities for kids, courtesy of Kyle Dine and Kiss Freely! It should be a great time and hopefully will become an annual tradition here in Massachusetts.

Great food allergy events like this wouldn't be possible without support from the food allergy community. If you are interested in volunteering from 1 - 6pm (you'll get free admission too!), please contact Marci Komssi on the Allerware Facebook Page or on Twitter  as soon as possible! 

14 April 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: SmartLabel

Happy Friday!!! Here is our food allergy consumer tip for the week: http://www.smartlabel.org/
I am still getting to know SmartLabel but this sounds like a great tool, not limited by specific food allergies. You can use it via a variety of mediums: phone scanning, website, 1-800 number, and certain apps.
I heard about a year or so ago but paid no attention until someone pointed it out in one or two food allergy groups I am in. They noticed SmartLabel provides information about ingredients AND information about shared facilities. Of course, companies are not required to provide info about shared facilities, so that info is not guaranteed to be provided but if a company is willing to go that extra step and include that info there (but not on their label!), you may find it there.
Another thing I like about this site is that it is a "living document", constantly being updated. You don't have to check a list and make sure it hasn't expired. The information on SmartLabel is constantly changing.
A number of major food companies use SmartLabel and it is expected that about 70% of food manufacturers will in the next year or so! This could be a huge help for people managing food allergies!
Please take a moment and check it out!:)
Also a big thanks goes out to whoever that smart food allergy mom was who shared this recently. (I can't find that post!)

Not an ad. Just sharing food allergy #teal love. :)

07 April 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Allerware

This Friday's food allergy consumer tip:
For the elementary & preschool set--AllerWare offers allergy awareness products such as stickers, bracelets and tattoos. AllerWare is an allergy awareness company owned and operated by a food allergy mom. They have awareness products for a wide variety of allergies--food allergies, bee stings, latex, penicillin...
Their tagline says it all: "Helping children with allergies stay safe when you can't be there"
Not an ad. Just #foodallergylove #teallove 

31 March 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Lil Allergy Advocates

This week's food allergy consumer tip is about Lil Allergy Advocates. As Food Allergy Awareness Week draws near, you may be thinking of getting some food allergy awareness accessories. Lil Allergy Advocates offer so many choices! Clothing, accessories, stamps, dishes, stickers, buttons, lunch boxes....
The website is http://lilallergyadvocates.com/ and the shop is owned by a graphic designer who is also a food allergy mom.
Be sure to check them out!

Not an ad. Just showing #foodallergylove #teallove 

25 March 2017

Food Allergy Invention by Elementary School Students

By Ashlie Chandler - This image is from the FEMA Photo Library., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8064675
As I drank my morning coffee this morning and perused the Google alerts, a headline about an elementary school and a food allergy invention caught my eye. Enterprising and ambitious young people are just such a source of inspiration! Here's a link to the article and video I saw.

I read a few articles about this elementary school team and had to share this story with you! They deserve so much credit. A team of students at Nathanial Greene Elementary School in Virginia has invented an "Aller Watch" which will determine if a food contains dangerous allergens for a diner. It is intended to look like a normal watch and not have an unseemly or unusual appearance to bring unwanted attention to the wearer. It sounds like a very helpful tool to make dining out easier and less stressful for those with food allergies. The Greene Elementary School team is one of 24 teams from around the country that placed in Toshiba's"Exploravision Challenge", and is apparently competing further in a spring competition.

Below is the press release from the school district, for your reading pleasure. What amazing kids! Credit also must be given to the team's advisors at school. As a teacher, I am sure they have spent a good deal of time after school working with the students. Congratulations to the team at Nathaniel Greene Elementary School!

"GES Team Wins the Region in the “Exploravision Challenge”
NGES student team places in the top 24 in the nation for Toshiba’s “Exploravision Challenge”
Stanardsville, VA, March 8, 2017
              Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association recently announced that a team of students and faculty from Nathanael Greene Elementary School have been named the Region 2 winners for the “Exploravision Challenge.”  Team members include Kaidance Jenkins, Ethan Morris, Ms. Hogsten, Ms. Philleo and Mr. Hickey.  The purpose of the challenge is to inspire science and innovation in the nation’s schools through project based learning experiences.  Nathanael Greene finished in the top 24 teams in the nation and will be competing for a spot in the final national competition to be held later this spring.
            The team’s project entitled, “The Aller Watch” has the following description:
“We recognized that people are spending a lot of money on medicines, doctor visits, and technology to help with food allergies. We also noticed that people don’t always know if they are allergic to a certain type of food. There are about fifteen million Americans suffering with food allergies today. This affects one out of thirteen children and costs about $25 billion a year. We are going to create the Aller Watch which is not just easily accessible but also very helpful to the problems we see. You can wear it on your wrist and it can test any food and will warn you if you’re allergic to it. The Aller Watch will make a warning sound if the test comes back positive. It will also provide the time, date, and games. This will allow people to wear it for more purposes and it won’t look like a medical device.”
            For winning the regional competition, team members will be awarded a Toshiba PC, science related gifts, plaques, banners, and much more. They will now compete for a spot in the national competition as finalists for a trip to Washington D.C.  The Greene County school system is incredibly proud of the hard work and focus on innovation from both students and staff at NGES."

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