Tips to plan a safe birthday party when inviting children with food alleriges.

Jun 25

We all go through this at one point or another in our life. This is from the other side form what we usually do, which is sending our kids out to parties. Worried about inviting a friend with food allergies to your child’s birthday party? Which foods are safe? Which are not? What if the child has a reaction? Food allergies are on the rise among children. This can present a challenge when planning your child’s birthday party. A few helpful tips in the party preparation can ensure a safe fun memorable birthday celebration for all. Most parents of a food allergic child understand that you will not feed their child a food containing the specific allergen. For example, you would not serve a cake with nuts or a peanut butter sandwich to a child with a peanut or nut allergy. The concern for parents is the cross-contamination of foods that might be considered safe. Cross-contamination is when a “safe” food comes in contact with the allergen. One way cross-contamination can occur is through shared utensils and /or shared manufacturing equipment. This is often the case with birthday cakes that are purchased from a bakery. Even though the cake may not have nuts, it “may contain” nuts because it was made on equipment that also makes other products with nuts. Communication with a child’s parent prior to the party can alleviate concerns. Discussing what will be served at the party, as well as safe food options, helps to avoid surprises. It is best to gain as much information about food restrictions or safety concerns prior to the celebration. This will allow you time to plan safe foods or to contact the parent if you are unable to make changes to your menu. In addition, this gives the parent the information they need to determine if they are comfortable having their child attend. When inviting your child’s class to a party and you do not know all the students, it is nice to ad a line to the invitation “If your child has a food allergy please contact us, so we can discuss safe options”. If a child has food allergies, the parent may opt to bring their own food...

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Living with Food Allergies: A First-Hand Account

Jun 18

Recently, Marc told me that there was a new co-op student at his workplace who has life-threatening food allergies. I began to wonder alot about this young man and started asking Marc a lot of questions about him: Does he carry epinephrine? Does he eat at restaurants? How has he managed to stay safe all these years? Marc suggested that I ask him these questions myself. So I did. His name is Gabe Hoogers. He’s nearly 19 years of age and is studying Contemporary Philosophy and Politics at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At about 2 years of age, it was discovered that he has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts as well as minor allergies to other foods such as soy, shellfish, and other nuts. I was very pleased when he agreed to be interviewed, and I was most impressed by his insightful and articulate answers to my questions: Me: Is there anyone else in your family with food allergies? Gabe: No one else in my family has food allergies, although my Dad is severely allergic to penicillin. Me: Did you have an allergic reaction to food that prompted the testing? Gabe: Yes — I ate a muffin with peanuts in it and had an anaphylactic reaction to it. My mom tells me that I became very quiet, so she suspected something was up. She came into my room and found me covered in hives — off to the hospital we went. Me: Do you remember the reaction? Gabe: Fortunately, no. Me: Do you think your food allergies were well accommodated at school? Gabe: When I started school, severe food allergies were still quite uncommon, so my Mom did a lot of work ensuring that both my teachers and classmates were well aware of my situation. As I moved through elementary school, though, the school board became more conscious about food allergies, and so my Mom’s publicity job became easier. Eventually, my elementary school was actually declared a peanut-free zone. Me: Did your food allergies prevent you from doing anything that you would have wanted to do? Gabe: Besides being unable to satisfy the occasional temptation to eat a snack that may or may not have contained peanuts, my allergy hasn’t...

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Allergy doesn’t mean you can’t go for gold

Jun 18

I love the stories of people who don’t let thier allergies interfere with life. They make adjustments to the way they live and move on to obtain the goals they strive for. It’s always nice to hear of people achieving what they set out for dispite the issues in front of them. Steve Omischl of Canada performs during his second jump in the men’s aerial final of the 2009 FIS Freestyle World Championships in Inawashiro on March 4, 2009. World Cup freestyle ski ace Steve Omischl wants people to know that having a severe allergy doesn’t mean you can’t dream big dreams Omischl dreams big. He also lives big and jumps big, even though he has had a potentially life-threatening allergy to peanuts since he was a child and carries an epinephrine auto-injector with him wherever he goes. “The message is that it’s definitely not limiting,” Omischl, who had a scary experience two seasons ago during a World Cup aerials competition in Switzerland, said Tuesday. “You have to read labels; tell the wait staff at restaurants you have this. Yeah, you need to take precautions, but you don’t need to be paralyzed by it.” Omischl, 30, has always had to read labels and be particularly careful about what he eats. And he’s had a couple of scares. On March 6, 2008 in Davos, Omischl bit into a multi-grain roll that he’d bought at a supermarket. It had been contaminated with a peanut product and he had a serious reaction. Fortunately, the team doctor gave him a shot of epinephrine and the next day Omischl won the final World Cup event of the season. “I competed the following day and ended up winning the event, but it was a pretty scary situation, almost dying from a peanut reaction,” Omischl said. “I’ve had [the allergy] my entire life, but it was the first time it ever happened while I was training or competing.” Omischl doesn’t often discuss his personal life, but the story eventually was written in a health magazine and representatives for King Pharmaceuticals Canada — distributors of EpiPen (R) — contacted him about being a spokesman. Now he’s encouraging people at risk for an anaphylactic attack always to carry...

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ALLERGY ALERT – UNDECLARED ALLERGENS IN LOTTE AND CROWN BRANDS OF BISCUITS FROM KOREA

Jun 16

UNDECLARED ALLERGENS IN LOTTE AND CROWN BRANDS OF BISCUITS FROM KOREA OTTAWA, June 12, 2009 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with allergies to milk, eggs or hazelnuts not to consume various Lotte and Crown brands of Biscuits described below. These products contain allergens which are not declared on the labels. All codes of the following Lotte and Crown brands of Biscuits, products of Korea, are affected by this alert. Product information below can be found on the package and the sticker applied for the Canadian market. via ALLERGY ALERT – UNDECLARED ALLERGENS IN LOTTE AND CROWN BRANDS OF BISCUITS FROM KOREA. Share...

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The Gluten Free Insider: We’ve Finally Gotten Rid Of All The Nuts!

Jun 16

Kinnikinnick foods, the gluten free company, is now going nut free too! We’ve Finally Gotten Rid Of All The Nuts! For a while our staff was quite worried when we said all the nuts would have to go… We are pleased to announce that as of June 15, 2009, we are going entirely nut free in both of our facilities. This is one of the biggest product policy changes since we made most of our products dairy free. We’ve been peanut free for several years now but this move will eliminate all tree nuts from our product line as well. On the down side, this will force the discontinuation of our lemon cranberry almond and double chocolate almond cookies but will open up our complete product line to thousands (millions?) of people with nut allergies. We will also be announcing a couple of new cookie varieties to replace the 2 we are discontinuing. More on that in a future post. For those of you with severe nut allergies please keep in mind that there will still be products in the market that were produced prior to us going nut free. Look for products with the following Best Before dates or later: * Soft Baked Goods (breads, buns, bagels, donuts, etc) – 12/15/2009 * Cookies, Mixes and Ingredients – 06/15/2010 via The Gluten Free Insider: We’ve Finally Gotten Rid Of All The Nuts!. Share...

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