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.

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."

24 March 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Tip Fridays

TGIF!! It's finally Friday and it is the first week of spring. That means Food Allergy Awareness Week is coming up!

This week's food allergy consumer tip is: 

Check out Allergy Mom Depotallergymomdepot.com, a web store dedicated to food allergy awareness accessories. 

They have teal & food allergy awareness jewelry and T-shirts and all sorts of food allergy awareness things for people of all ages! They also have seasonal food allergy awareness accessories. 

Not an ad. Just showing the #foodallergylove #teallove. Have a great weekend, everyone!

14 March 2017

Food Allergy News: Unfiltered and Straight from the Source is Best

One of the best ways to become a savvy consumer is to read--a lot. When it comes to food allergies, having good information sources is extremely important. Not all blogs are created equal. Not all websites are created equal. You need to become your own best news source. In a previous post, I shared how to set up Google alerts so you can get the latest food allergy headlines directly in your own inbox. I also shared how to get FDA recall notices directly as well.

Recently, the #AAAAI17 Annual Meeting was held and as usual, a number of interesting studies were discussed. You can actually obtain the abstracts for those studies yourself. It's so much better to read them yourself rather than adopting someone else's interpretation. There is a special supplement of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology which contains the abstracts from the meeting. 

If you are interested, why not take a look at the abstracts yourself? If you want to learn more about those studies or their implications for you or your loved on, it could be a question for your allergist. Don't sell yourself short! You can become your own best food allergy information source very easily.

05 March 2017

Food Allergy Folks You Should Know About: A Sprinkle of Love

In early February of this year, I had the good fortune of meeting @addasprinkle on Twitter. They are a young entrepreneur team at the Rougemont School in South Wales currently working on the impressive and admirable challenge of creating a website and an app to help parents of children with restricted diets--due to food allergies, intolerances, etc--find and share recipes. A few of the team members have food allergies and intolerances, and they also have friends with food allergies and intolerances. They are aware of the challenges food allergies and intolerances can present, in terms of finding safe food to eat and recipes.

Composed of ten 14 and 15 year old students, the team has two teacher advisors--one from their school and one from the young entrepreneurs competition. All team members have some experience with basic programming, but one especially technologically savvy team member is responsible for app development and programming. They are a very motivated bunch of young people, and it is hard not to feel excited and inspired by their work and drive! The team anticipates having a collection of recipes available to app users, and also plan to make it possible for app users to input their own recipes. Users will be able to create profiles and favorite or save recipes to their own user profile. In addition, one recipe will be featured each month.

Currently, the team is looking for a developer to help make the app as user friendly as possible. They also are soliciting ideas and input from the food allergy community. If you have an idea, tip, question, or suggestion for the team, please feel free to email them at asprinkleoflovecookboook AT gmailDOT com or contact them on Twitter, @addasprinkle.

We wish AddASprinkle the very best of luck in the competition and are thrilled they decided to focus on an app to help those with food allergies. It will help address an important need for individuals with food allergies. 

13 February 2017

Food Allergy Folks You Should Know About: Brandon's Best Allergen-Free Treats

Screenshot from http://www.brandonsbestallergenfree.com/the-sweet-shop/?v=757e5b5109ed
I am not sure when I first heard about Mandy's Pizza. It was years ago! Mandy's is an award winning pizzeria located in Pittsburgh, PA. Steve Negri is the owner. I remember reading that Steve's son had food allergies and that they sold allergy friendly pizza dough. In fact, either Steve or the Mandy's website explained that his son Brandon was the inventor of the pizza dough! I always thought that was so innovative and how wonderful that a pizza place had something for those with food allergies. It was SO long ago, when I first heard about Mandy's  there was no such thing as allergy friendly food at restaurants; it was something that just didn't happen and I knew Mandy's Pizza was special.

Years went by, and then a few months ago I learned that Brandon--now in high school!--has his own website and business! I was blown away. As a high school teacher and mom of two teenagers, I absolutely love hearing about entrepreneurial, innovative young people. The world really is their oyster, and Brandon clearly has ambition and aims to go places! I am very glad Brandon agreed to do a Q & A with Food Allergy Buzz to share more of his story and tell us all about his business, Brandon's Best Allergen-Free Treats

I also had a chance to try some vanilla glazed donuts which Brandon kindly sent along with a Pittsburgh Steelers sign! It's an inside joke between us, as I live in Patriots' territory, and this was before the Superbowl when we didn't know which team was going to advance then! My sons and I enjoyed the donuts; they were super! We especially liked the glaze, nice and sweet with the yummy cakey donuts! The donuts are top 8 allergen free and gluten-free, as are most of Brandon’s products. Specific ingredient information is on his website. Brandon’s products include cookies, donuts, muffins and pizza dough.

Side note: on top of managing multiple food allergies, creating recipes, starting his own business, Brandon still is a full-time high school student and serious hockey player! I don't know how he does it all!!

*I normally share photos of the foods we try but I must apologize as my computer has been misbehaving and I lost some recent photos, as well as Firefox for some reason. I think my computer may be on its last leg.*

FAB:  Please tell us about your connection to food allergies.
Brandon: I have had bad food allergies since I was a baby.  My mom found out when I was 3 and I put a peanut in my mouth.  She pulled it out and my spit went on my cheek and then it started to turn red. 

FAB:  Tell us a little about you manage your allergies.
Brandon: Managing food allergies isn't that hard since my mom taught me how to read labels, and to ask before I eat.  When I went to school my mom packed my lunch but my parents would not let me sit at the no peanuts table.  I asked Dad and he said that if I sat at that table I would always be afraid to be on my own so sit with your friends but not around the one eating peanut butter that day. 

 FAB:Tell us about how you first began to cook and old were you then?
Brandon: I was 9 years old when I started baking because my Dad would bring pizza home to eat but i could not even touch his pizza.  I told him that i wanted him to make me a pizza and he said that he didn't know how.  I told my Dad that I would make it and he said ok.  It took me 6 months to make a pizza that tasted really good.

When I was 11, I started to work on buns because I could never have a hamburger with a bun.  The only bun at whole foods was really nasty and it would fall apart.

I then started to work on desserts because the cookies that we would see were only gluten free and I am allergic to eggs and corn and they always had that in them. 

FAB: How did you begin to develop recipes? How did you come up with recipes?
Brandon: I would look on the internet at pictures and would make them because they looked good.  I then had to look on the internet for egg replacements.  I tried bananas but they made my cookies all taste like banana.  I tried applesauce but that made my stomach upset.  Dad says that apples will make babies poop.  I just tried all kinds of different ways until I liked how they tasted and looked.  

FAB:  How long did it take you?
Brandon: Everything I have made took me a very long time.  My donuts took me 3 years to make until my Dad thought that they tasted like a real donut.  I didn't know because I had never tasted a real donut.

Once I figured how to replace stuff like eggs it was easy to make other foods allergen free but not taste allergen free. 

FAB: I think I remember visiting your Dad's website a few years back and it looks different today. Now there is Brandon's Best Allergen-free Treats, a separate website! How did that happen? What made you decide to take the plunge?
Brandon: It was my Dad that told me that I should have my own website.  I don't know anything about how to make a website but Dad does and he did it for me.  He told me that people get confused when they think that Mandy's pizza sells donuts but it is really me that does that stuff.  I helped Dad pick out what the website will look like but he did all of the work. 

FAB: Have you gotten to chat with any of your customers? What kind of feedback are you receiving?
Brandon: Dad gets to more than me because he is at the pizza shop.  But when I do the allergen free donuts with Santa, the kids, and parents all come up to thank me for what I do.  I think that it is cool because it was hard for me when I was their age and there weren't any good donuts or cookies. 

FAB: What are your plans for the future?
Brandon: Dad and I talked about that the other night and I am going to start selling my cookie dough in jars.  Dad already helps me a lot but it would be a lot more work to make all of these cookies.  It will be easier to put the dough in jars and people can make cookies when they want to. 
FAB: What advice do you have for other young people with food allergies?
Brandon: I went to a lunch today with a guy who sells real estate and he said that life gave me food allergies and I made cookies.  Parents need to make kids not so scared about food allergies because it is not that bad if you try to understand.

FAB:  Is there anything else you'd like to share with Food Allergy Buzz readers?
Brandon: Make food allergies easy for kids but people whose kids don't have food allergies need to live like us for one month, and then they will see how hard it is to worry about getting sick or not fitting in when there is a party.

Just because you have food allergies doesn't mean you are not cool.  We get to eat special stuff every day and that makes us cooler than you. 

19 January 2017

Food Allergy News: Finally Some Good News!

Today Kaleo--manufacturer of the Auvi-Q--released exciting news in a press release. Auvi-Q will be available in the U.S. starting February14. Below is the press release.

RICHMOND, VA. (January 19, 2017)– Kaléo, a privately-held pharmaceutical company, today announced the AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) Auto-injector will be available by prescription starting February 14th, and announced AUVI-Q AffordAbility, a first-of-its-kind access program for AUVI-Q. Through this new program, patients with commercial insurance, even those with high-deductible plans, will have an out-of-pocket cost of $0. For patients who do not have government or commercial insurance, and have a household income of less than $100,000, AUVI-Q will be available free of charge. In addition, the cash price for AUVI-Q is $360 and will be available to those patients without government or commercial insurance. Each AUVI-Q prescription includes two Auto-injectors and one Trainer for AUVI-Q.

“We met with patients and physicians and listened to the very real challenges in the current healthcare environment with obtaining access to affordable medicines,” said Spencer Williamson, President and CEO of kaléo. “As a result, starting February 14, for more than 200 million Americans with commercial insurance, including those with high-deductible plans, the out-of-pocket cost for AUVI-Q will be $0.”

AUVI-Q is a FDA-approved prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions. It is an epinephrine auto-injector with innovative features such as voice instructions that help guide a user with step-by-step instructions through the epinephrine delivery process and an automatic retractable needle system, a first for epinephrine auto-injectors, that injects the epinephrine and retracts the needle back into the device within seconds. “We know how important it is that severely allergic patients have an epinephrine auto-injector that can be with them at all times and used correctly, even without training, during a panic-stricken allergic emergency,” said Eric Edwards M.D., Ph.D, Vice President of Product Strategy at kaléo. “We are excited to make AUVI-Q, an epinephrine auto-injector with innovative features, available for millions of patients living with severe, life-threatening allergies.”

AUVI-Q AffordAbility is a first-of-its-kind program and commitment for AUVI-Q, designed to provide affordable access to this potentially life-saving epinephrine auto-injector for eligible patients. This new program removes potential and previously experienced insurance barriers, restrictions and delays, even for those commercially-insured patients with high-deductible plans. AUVI-Q will also be available via a direct delivery service, that can ensure the best expiration dating for

Identical twin brothers, Eric and Evan Edwards, the inventors of AUVI-Q, grew up with life-threatening allergies. They know what it is like to live in fear of that life-or-death moment, both as patients and parents of food-allergic children. Their goal was to develop an epinephrine auto-injector that contained innovative features, such as a voice instruction system that helps guide patients and caregivers step-by-step through the injection process. Eric and Evan Edwards believe and trust in

AUVI-Q, not only for themselves, but also for their children and other families who may have to depend on it to administer epinephrine during an allergic emergency.

To learn more about AUVI-Q, please visit www.auvi-q.com.

15 January 2017

Food Allergy Consumer Product Review: Better Bites Bakery


Better Bites Bakery
tel. (512) 350-2271

Better Bites Bakery was founded by Leah Lopez, the mom of a boy with food allergies and other dietary restrictions. The Better Bites Bakery's mission on the website says it all--"to bake exceptional, tasty, and delightful treats with special dietary needs and high food standards in mind." I'd say they have achieved their mission!

The FAB Review
Dedicated facility: Yes. Manufacturing facility is free of the top 8 allergens and gluten and is kosher pareve too. They are non-GMO certified through the non-GMO project and verified vegan through Vegan Action. They do not use any artificial colors or preservatives. For the details, please see their website. NOTE: The Mostess Cupcakes contain coconut cream. (coconut is not a tree nut)
Appearance: All three items we sampled looked very lovely. They traveled very well during shipping! They are packaged very well so there were no dents, cracks, etc.

Taste: One word--delicious!
Vanilla Cake Ball

Texture: We sampled three different products--Cake Balls, Better Brownie, and Mostess Mini-cupcakes. The texture for each was exactly the way we had hoped it would be! No weird texture like you sometimes find with gluten-free products. The Cake Balls are heavy, and we kind of enjoyed that aspect, because we felt really satisfied after eating one!
Convenience: Better Bites are available in a number of Whole Foods stores. To see if they are in a store near you, check the Better Bites locator list. If you are like me, and do not live near one of those Whole Foods stores, you can order online and receive your order in the mail.
Price/value: This is a food allergy treat that is on the pricey side, and it should be. These treats are scrumptious, pretty, and are made in a top-8 allergen free bakery. A Cake Ball Sampler which is six 4-packs of cake balls (24 cake balls total) is $40. 12 individually wrapped Better Brownies are $36.00. Four 6-packs of Mini Mostess Cupcakes (24 mini cupcakes total) are $40. Better Bites would be a fantastic gift or treat for someone with food allergies! And if you cannot come up with a special occasion, then you can treat yourself or someone else just because!
Buy again?: Yes, in a heartbeat!

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