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.

19 May 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: New Products from A & J Bakery

If you haven't visited A & J Bakery's website recently, you really should take a moment to see what's new. A&J Bakery is an allergy friendly baskery that is dedicated peanut, nut and gluten free and also makes many top-8 free desserts and other foods. Based in Rhode Island, they were also the first bakery in the United States--to my knowledge--to make a top 8 free (and more!) gingerbread house kit for Christmas, which has become quite popular over the last several years.  

I recently had the good fortune of trying two new products from A&J Bakery which I don't think you'll easily find elsewhere--top 8-free "thin mints" and top 8-free wine biscuits. That's right, they are free of all the top 8 allergens as determined by the FDA as well as gluten. I also spotted pepper biscuits and other treats on their Facebook page. A visit to A&J's Facebook page is almost as good as going to the bakery and peering through the glass case at all the goodies. 

Not familiar with wine biscuits? They are an Italian specialty cookie, which is a favorite in many Italian-American families in Rhode Island. I had never tried wine biscuits before! They are sweet wine flavored cookies, have a purplish color from the red wine they contain, and are twisted into a sort of ring-shape. And the allergy friendly thinmints were incredible! A&J's thinmints tasted just the way I remember those tasty Girl Scout cookies. I don't know how A&J does it, but they have found a way to make so many top-8 free treats that not only are delicious, but have the same texture as the "regular", non-allergy friendly versions! It's really quite amazing.  They clearly have mastered the art and science of allergy friendly baking, and are constantly adding to their menu. I can't wait to see what they come up with next. With an allergy friendly bakery like A&J around, my family doesn't miss out on any tasty desserts, even with food allergies!

Be sure to check out A&J's Bakery website and Facebook page

Not an ad. Just sharing #teallove.

12 May 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Kiss Freely

While FALCPA has improved allergen labeling for the top 8 allergies in the U.S. on food labels, food allergens are not required to be "called out" or labeled on cosmetics. Yet, some people do react to food allergens in cosmetics and make-up. It is a frequently asked question in food allergy support groups: what brand of make-up is free of most or all of the top 8 allergens? Enter Kiss Freely. Kiss Freely bath and body products are free of the top 8 food allergens as well as gluten, and are made in an environment which is free of the top 8 allergens as well.

Kiss Freely was founded by Jennifer Kurko, mother of a child with multiple food allergies. She began making her own cosmetic products when her daughter developed hives from a kiss on the cheek from mom! One of the most amazing things about Kiss Freely is that they will custom create a product to avoid an allergen on request. Their website states "At Kiss Freely, we know everyone is unique and so are food allergies.  Many of our products allow for substitutions.  If you need to avoid one of our ingredients, simply contact us with your request, and we will do our best to provide you with products made special just for you and your needs."

The Kiss Freely product line includes body butter, lipstick, lip balm, lip gloss, eye shadow, scrub, foundation, etc. In July, Kiss Freely will be adding shampoo, body wash and mascara to their product line!

Please take a look at the KissFreely website, “like” their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter!

Not an ad. Just sharing #teallove. ❤️

08 May 2017

Food Allergy Buzz Thanks

Thank you to Healthline for recognizing Food Allergy Buzz in its 2017 Best Allergy Blogs of the Year list. It is extremely gratifying to receive this acknowledgement from a well regarded health website. It's an honor to be listed alongside a few well-written and thoughtful blogs which I admire a great deal.
By sharing helpful food allergy information together in a respectful and civil manner, food allergy bloggers surely can help make a difference. Just think of how powerful a voice food allergy bloggers could be if they all worked together! 

05 May 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: DineSafe App

The DineSafe App is a food allergy friendly restaurant app which I have been following for some time. I have been in touch with one of the owners via Twitter (http://twitter.com/DineSafeApp) a number of times and the company seems very committed to truly helping make dining out easier and safer for individuals managing food allergies. I tried the app months ago and there were no local restaurants which had input their allergen information yet, but when I looked again more recently, I now see one has signed up. It's only a matter of time before there are more, and that is exciting!

When a food allergy consumer signs up for DineSafe, they may select which allergens or foods they need to avoid. The list of options is impressive. There is a list of Top 8, "All restaurants are required to track", Top 14 "Optional for restaurants to track" (which includes celery, gluten, lupin, mustard, sesame, and sulphates) and then there is a "Popular" list which includes: added fructose, beef, bell pepper, carrots, chicken, citrus, corn, eggplant, garlic, gelatin, latext, msg, mushroom, onion, peppercorn, pork, potato, seeds, and tomato. 

Restaurants that join Dinesafe provide this ingredient information to DineSafe so that when a consumer views a restaurant's "maintained" listing (as provided by the restaurant) they can see which menu items include and don't include their allergens. It makes scanning a menu so much easier and quicker. There are also restaurants listed on DineSafe which have not provided their allergen info to DineSafe, so the information may not be as reliable but at least provides a starting point for consumers. In addition, consumers can petition restaurants to join DineSafe. 

Another nice feature of DineSafe which will be helpful for those who are not managing food allergies is that consumers on certain diets may opt for the restaurant menus to screen for menu items that fit their particular diet, be it vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleo, organic, no sugar, low sodium, low fat, Kosher, Halal, or GMO free.

Of course, no app can provide information about a restaurant's actual implementation of procedures to prevent cross-contamination. Restaurants that join DineSafe, however, are obviously interested in reaching consumers with food allergies and by providing the detailed allergen information for their menus have demonstrated a certain level of food allergy awareness that may be comforting to consumers managing food allergies. In addition, you can cross reference the detailed restaurant menu info from DineSafe with restaurant reviews on AllergyEats. I must admit, I am curious to try the local dining establishment which has already signed up with DineSafe and am impressed by the detailed information on DineSafe, which I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Check out DineSafe! You can download it on Apple and Android devices.

29 April 2017

Food Allergy Consumer News: CDC Study Begins to Look at Restaurant Management of Food Allergens

In Google alerts today, there is an article from a law firm specializing in food safety litigation regarding CDC study on restaurants and food allergies. It's an interesting study but the researchers had a very low response rate--only 32.6%! And they only had 6 sites in the entire U.S., two of which were in New York. Few conclusions can be made from such a preliminary study, but at least research into this very important topic is beginning. As the abstract states "The findings in this report are subject to at least four limitations. First, because the interview responses were self-reported, they are subject to social desirability bias, which might have resulted in overreporting of appropriate practices. Second, because interviewed food workers and servers were selected by managers, and not at random, their responses might not represent the experiences or practices of all food workers and servers. Third, because the data were collected from English-speaking staff members only, they might not reflect practices in restaurants where no one speaks English. Finally, the low response rate (32.6%) might have resulted in an overrepresentation of restaurants with better food allergy practices."

With the increasing rates of food allergies, much more research is needed to develop a better understanding of restaurant handling of food allergies. We all can agree that greater food allergy awareness and education is needed.

Food Allergy Buzz encourages you to read some of the abstract or Journal of Food Protection article to draw your own conclusions about the research undertaken so far., without "spin" from commentators. Here is the Journal of Food Protection article regarding the study, entitled "Food Allergy Knowledge and Attitudes of Restaurant Managers and Staff: An EHS-Net Study", an abstract of the study and a link to the law firm's article regarding the study.

28 April 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays: Pareair Food Allergy Awareness Shirts

With Food Allergy Awareness Week coming next month, demand for food allergy awareness accessories and clothing is growing. Pareair Custom Designs is selling food allergy awareness t-shirts for $19.99 (boys) and $18.99 (girls) on Amazon. There is a cool black and teal shirt (above), other colors such as brown, olive, navy and orange are available with teal lettering, and there are also come in other colors for boys and girls with black lettering as well. These are perfect for parents looking for clothing to alert adults not to feed their child at events and locationswhere food is being served,

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.
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