Food Allergy Buzz: Since When Does Heat “Kill” Allergens?!!

Apr 22

In order to help spread this news, please note what FAB has to say below. This is important! Anyone who knows me well or even visits Food Allergy Buzz on a regular basis probably knows that I spend a good amount of time each day reading food allergy related news. I have many Google Alerts, sometimes more than I can reasonably read in a day. Early Tuesday morning, I came across this article–Food allergies: Tips for Ordering Meals Out–which contained very disturbing misinformation about cross-contamination from a restaurant manager. He was being cited as an expert of sorts on eating out with food allergies. The article also mentioned food allergy mom, author, and advocate, Linda Coss–she was not interviewed for the article, but information from one of her press releases was used in the article. Linda has followed up with the newspaper to correct and clarify the information in the article. Here is what I found troubling (emphasis added): “Linda Coss, the author of “How to Manage Your Child’s Life-Threatening Food Allergies: Practical Tips For Everyday Life,” reminds us it’s not only what the ingredients are, but what could that dish come in contact with on the grill, the deep fryer or the preparation station. Pruyn agrees with Coss in respect to asking what’s in the food. For example, at Maynards he said a server could easily go back in the kitchen and check every single ingredient used in the dish, including spices. However, Pruyn said when it comes to cross contamination, customers shouldn’t worry too much, unless the food is raw. For example, if a person comes in allergic to seafood and wants to order a hamburger, he or she doesn’t need to worry about the two being cooked on the same grill. “The heat that is used is burning everything up,” he said, adding the same is true for the deep fried shrimp and chicken fingers.” Just to clarify, ladies and gents, food allergens cannot be removed by heat! It’s not like cooking meat– allergens don’t vanish and aren’t “killed” once the food reaches a certain temperature. Soap and water is what removes allergen. That’s right, plain old soap and water. via Food Allergy Buzz: Since When...

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The Nut-Free Mom Blog: A “Green” Approach to Your Food-Allergic Child’s School Lunch

Apr 22

Nut Free Mom has a great focus in honour of Earth Day. Litter Free Lunch offers products and ideas on how to prepare a safe and clean lunch for your children. Have a look at what she has to say! At the FAAN conference last Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting Felice Farran, a mom of 2 school-aged boys with nut allergies. She also happens to be the co-owner of a company called Litter Free Lunch. As moms of kids with food allergies, we are all very familiar with packing school lunches! Felice is concerned about the environment as well as her child’s food allergies and she couldn’t find a decent, earth-friendly alternative to paper napkins for her kids’ lunches. So she came up with the idea of offering washable cloth napkins that are perfect for taking to school. The company also has an organic line. Check out their growing product selection at http://www.litterfreelunch.com/. Many of us will appreciate the “green” aspect of offering washable napkins, and if your child has food allergies, these have a dual purpose. You can ask your child to spread them out on the cafeteria or picnic table to offer an extra layer of protection from allergenic foods that may have been there before. Plus, you’ll save $$. Besides being wasteful, paper napkins are expensive! In honor of Earth Day, Litter Free Lunch is offering a special discount. From now until midnight on Friday, April 24th, all of their napkins, including organics, will be 15% off. Just use the coupon code EARTHWEEK when checking out. It was great to meet Felice and learn about her company. I wish her the best and hope you’ll stop by her site! Disclaimer: My comments are based on personal opinion; I received no compensation for my endorsement. via The Nut-Free Mom Blog: A “Green” Approach to Your Food-Allergic Child’s School Lunch. Share...

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Food For Thought — Understanding Food Allergies In Kids

Apr 18

This is a well written general-information article and a good overview for anyone new to allergies or just interested in knowing a bit about it.    Every year, thousands of parents learn of their children’s food allergies following a reaction that can affect many body systems, including the skin, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and/or cardiovascular systems. About 2 million school age children have food allergy, and one child in 20 under age 3 has food allergy. Food allergies develop when the immune system misinterprets a food as harmful and develops an immune response against the food. If a child develops allergy antibodies (called IgE) to a food protein, reexposure to that food may be accompanied by a release of chemicals that produce the allergic symptoms.   Leonard Bacharier, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Clinical Director of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonary Medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said that eight foods that cause 90 percent of food allergies, including: — Peanuts — Shellfish — Fish — Tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds) — Eggs — Milk — Soy — Wheat Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe, and may include one or more of the following: — Hives (a red intensely itchy rash) — Eczema — Tingling or swelling of the lip, tongue and/or throat — Difficulty breathing, coughing and/or wheezing — Nausea and vomiting — Abdominal cramps — Diarrhea — Drop in blood pressure — Loss of consciousness — Death Anaphylaxis is a combination of several of these symptoms and is a life threatening medical emergency. The only effective approach for the treatment of food allergy is dietary avoidance. “This requires extreme dedication and attention to detail,” Bacharier says. “Parents and caregivers of food allergic children must become experts at reading ingredient labels on all foods. Peanuts, soy, wheat, milk and eggs are common ingredients in many packaged foods, recognition of the other terms used on labels which indicate the presence of milk or egg proteins, such as casein and albumin is critical.” “As a general rule: if a product doesn’t have a label, people with food allergies should not eat that food,” Bacharier...

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ALLERGY ALERT – UNDECLARED PEANUTS IN BERGEN BRAND APPLE CINNAMON

Apr 17

ALLERGY ALERT UNDECLARED PEANUTS IN BERGEN BRAND APPLE CINNAMON COOKIES OTTAWA, April 16, 2009 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Dollarama are warning people with allergies to peanut proteins not to consume the Bergen brand Apple Cinnamon Cookies described below. The affected product may contain peanuts which are not declared on the label. All Best Before date codes of the Bergen brand Apple Cinnamon Cookies, product of Poland, sold in 150 g packages are affected by this alert. This product has been distributed nationally. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to peanuts. The importer, Dollarama, Montreal, QC is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall. For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday). For information on peanuts, one of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/peaarae.shtml For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at www.inspection.gc.ca. via ALLERGY ALERT – UNDECLARED PEANUTS IN BERGEN BRAND APPLE CINNAMON COOKIES. Share...

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What to ask at a restaurant/resort.

Apr 17

When you visit a restaurant or on vacation at a resort do you go into detail with the staff regarding the menu and allergy practice in the kitchen? There are many ways to go about getting the ‘good feeling’ about a restaurant from just going on a recommendation and eating there (McDonalds used to be this way) or giving the manager/head-chef the third degree.  We have come up with some standard questions we like to ask. Sometimes we feel the need to ask them all, sometimes we are satisfied if the management has a strong grasp without the need to ask all the questions. It is especially wonderful when a staff member offers to give you a tour of a buffet or the menu outlining what is safe and what to stay away from. When someone suggests to stay away from something I also like to ask about the preparation of that dish, if it is prepared separately and safely from the safe dishes. Do you have a standard list of questions different from what we have below? The List: Do any foods prepared here contain nuts/peanuts or traces or nuts/peanuts Of the meals that include sauces, can they be left out or be on the side in a separate dish? are any sauces or mixes supplied from outside sources or is everything prepared on site? Are dishes containing nuts/peanuts prepared and stored separately? Do you take precautions against cross-contamination so that the prep area is clear of nuts/peanuts? Do you clean areas and utensils, pots etc. when preparing a dish for someone with nuts/peanut allergies? Are the staff allergy aware? Do they know to make sure their hands are clean or gloves are worn when preparing or handling dishes for allergic patrons? BONUS Question: Would you allow someone to visit the kitchen to allow them to ensure a safe environment?   Share...

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