Nut allergy ‘hits Asian children’

May 29

This article is based on only 2 clinics in London, England seeing an increase in nut allergies. It needs more research since there can be many reasons why this could be happening. The research needs to include many more clinics. A disproportionately high number of Asian children are being diagnosed with nut allergy, a leading expert says. Dr Abbass Khakoo, medical director at London’s Hillingdon Hospital, is a specialist in food allergies. He said children from ethnic minorities were over-represented at his two London clinics. He has found children from ethnic backgrounds appear to display symptoms of nut allergies at a younger age than their white counterparts. Guys and St Thomas hospital in London, which has a large allergy clinic, has also reported that they are seeing higher numbers of Asian children who have nut allergies. Dr Khakoo has called for further research to find out why more Asian children appear to be developing nut allergies. He said: “There is something about the increase in these groups presenting to allergy clinics, that is causing alarm and puzzlement because we don’t understand why there has been an explosion in nut allergy” Peanut allergy affects up to 2% of young children in the UK, but other nuts including almonds, cashew, brazil nuts and walnuts can also cause a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Swelling Symptoms can include breathing problems, swelling of the throat and mouth, a change in the heart rate and even unconsciousness which could lead to death. Raam Uthayanan did not know he had a nut allergy Raam Uthayanan, 16, from Pinner in West London, was diagnosed with an nut allergy four months ago. He said: “Usually my throat closes up, sometimes I may vomit and sometimes my face and lips swell up.” Raam began to have reaction to foods containing nuts from the age of four or five. He was frequently sick, but his father Sunthar thought he did not like nuts and was lying about feeling unwell. Sunthar said: “I was so surprised, I didn’t expect him to have an nut allergy. “He had some sort of a problem when he was 10 and when I gave him nutty cornflakes he vomited. But at that...

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Allergic to Other Foods? Quaker Has Warnings for You Too.

May 28

Today, I contacted PepsiCo Canada, and they kindly faxed me the notice regarding the introduction of new allergens in their Rice Cakes and Crispy Minis products (see our previous article “News of Quaker Rice Cakes New Allergen Warnings Slow to Spread”). In addition to peanut, which may now be present in all Quaker Rice Cakes and Crispy Minis, several other allergens have been added (in addition to the allergens that previously were present): If you are allergic to barley, be aware that Butter Toffee Cracker Jack Rice Cakes now contain barley. If you are allergic to egg, be aware that the White Cheddar and the Butter Rice Cakes now contain egg, and the BBQ, Ketchup, Sea Salt & Lime, Cheddar Cheese, Caramel Kettle Corn, Dill, Sour Cream & Onion, and Butter Crispy Minis now may contain egg. If you are allergic to sulphites, be aware that Caramel Kettle Corn Crispy Minis now contain sulphites. If you are allergic to wheat, be aware that Ketchup, Sea Salt & Lime, Cheddar Cheese, Caramel Kettle Corn, Dill, Sour Cream & Onion, Butter, and BBQ Crispy Minis now may contain wheat. If you are allergic to soy, be aware that BBQ Crispy Minis now may contain wheat. Share...

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News of Quaker Rice Cakes New Allergen Warnings Slow to Spread

May 28

News of Quaker Rice Cakes New Allergen Warnings Slow to Spread

Although it has been a little over three months since PepsiCo Foods Canada announced that their Quaker Rice Cakes and Crispy Minis now may contain peanut, I’ve been disturbed that they are still on the menu at daycares with peanut-allergic children in our city. In fact, these products were for so long considered a staple as a “safe-snack,” and many still consider them as such. I was a regular consumer of these rice cakes, and I might not have learned of the formulation change (which is the result of the introduction of the new peanut butter flavours) if I wasn’t a regular visitor to the Allergic Living message board where someone had posted an alert. I think these alerts were sent to those who have registered to receive Quaker Foods product alerts and not many, if any, other folks. Luckily for me, I was pre-warned of the change, and carefully inspected the packaging of the Quaker Rice Cakes, eventually finding the “MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS” warning. Shortly after, when a friend of mine was packing a few bags of these rice cakes to bring on a trip she was taking with her peanut-allergic son, she was shocked when I told her that she’d better look for a warning on the packaging. Her shock turned to annoyance as we both tried to straighten out the top of the rice cake package, scrunched together with a bread-bag-type tie, to read the warning. The warning is, shall we say, NOT obvious. These rice cakes were a staple at my son’s child care centre, and I’m having some difficulty erasing the concept of Quaker Rice Cakes being a safe snack from their minds. I’ve finally found them an alternative brand (NoName) for which I’ve obtained the manufacturer’s assurance that they are free from peanuts. But change is slow, and this week the child care centre accidentally purchased and served the Quaker brand (I was able to intervene before my son was given any). I’ll continue to spread the news to others and hope the news continues to spread. It would be nice if the multinational, billion-dollar-earning, food-producing corporations could help out too. Share...

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Parents offered new choices in allergen-free food

May 21

Enjoy Life is by now a well-known brand, and one that many of us have grown used to seeing in our grocery stores if not in our cupboards. This is a great story of a couple of guys who wanted to help out the growing population of allergy sufferers. An idea that started as a class project between two friends is big business in the booming food allergy and intolerance market that one research firm estimates will reach $3.9 billion this year. Scott Mandell and Bert Cohen, classmates at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2000, founded their allergen-free food company, Enjoy Life Natural Brands LLC, in 2001. The pair drafted their initial business plan for a school assignment in their last class before graduation. Their idea for an allergen-free food company was inspired by Cohen’s mother, who had multiple sclerosis and serious dietary restrictions. “Quite frankly, we didn’t have a better idea at the time,” President and Chief Executive Officer Mandell admitted. “Once we got into it and got behind the numbers, we saw an amazing opportunity.”  Mandell and Cohen continued working on a business plan after the class ended in the spring of 2000. About six months later, Mandell quit his job as a commercial lender to focus entirely on Enjoy Life. Within 21 months of Mandell quitting his job, Enjoy Life products were on shelves for sale.  The pair hit upon a growing industry. The market for allergen-free foods nearly doubled between 1999 and 2003, growing to $1.8 billion from $947 million in retail sales in the U.S., according to New York research firm Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group LLC. Nearly 12 million Americans have food allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.  Food allergies and people’s awareness of them are also on the rise. The number of children diagnosed with the peanut allergy has doubled in the past decade, and the prevalence of food allergies in children under the age of 18 has increased by 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to the academy.  Enjoy Life started in a 6,000-square-foot “shoebox” on Chicago’s West side with help from friends and family who Mandell dubbed “angel investors.”...

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The Nut-Free Mom Blog: New Peanut Flour Warnings for General Mills Cereals

May 20

Jenny at Nut-Free Mom has sent us this warning, and all should read! This just goes to show you that our everyday foods can become unsafe for those in our homes.    New Peanut Flour Warnings for General Mills Cereals I just got an alert from my local food allergy support group and wanted to pass it along. Please check the ingredients lists of your General Mills cereals very carefully. The company is adding peanut flour to Cocoa Puffs. Some of their other cereal products contain new allergy warnings for nuts as well as for other foods including gluten. The link above contains an exchange in the comments section of the blog between someone at General Mills and the Allergy Moms web site readers. The General Mills exec maintains that you can trust the labels on General Mills products and that they explicitly list allergy warnings wherever appropriate. I know that Frosted Cheerios (a General Mills cereal) contain almond flour despite the fact that the name of the cereal contains no reference to nuts–we found that out just as our daughter was about to eat Frosted Cheerios at a relative’s house. This was about a year ago and as I recall, there was no “called out” allergy warning. Almond flour was simply listed as an ingredient. The labels may have changed since then–I’m sure we’ll all check our cereal boxes now! We still eat the plain Cheerios without incident at my house but it just goes to show you that you must read all labels, all the time. As ingredients labels continue to evolve, I’m sure we will all be faced with new decisions about old standby foods. via The Nut-Free Mom Blog: New Peanut Flour Warnings for General Mills Cereals. Share...

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