Book – The History of the Peanut Allergy Epidemic

Mar 31

Available in real paper (not as an e-book), this book offers a glimpse into the history of the peanut allergy. I hope to have a review up in the near future, but in the mean time pick up a copy and tell us what you think. The History of the Peanut Allergy Epidemic, the first documented history of the rise of peanut allergy, is now available http://www.peanutallergyepidemic.com Written by Heather Fraser a Toronto-based historian and mother of a peanut-allergic child, this meticulously researched book pinpoints the moment of the allergy’s appearance and reveals the perfect storm of social, medical, political and economic factors from which the epidemic has grown. The epidemic proportions of peanut allergy have spawned intense research into numerous risk factors including peanut consumption, birth month, hygiene, parasite levels and even head size.   And yet, no one has been able to connect the specifics of this surprising epidemic with a functional mechanism of sensitization – how have 2 million children in just the last 20 years become sensitized to this one food?  Neither coincidence nor genetic fluke can explain the speed at which this allergy has spread in children or its peculiar features.   The allergy appears primarily in western countries including the US, Canada, Australia and the UK and in toddlers, boys more often than girls in a ratio greater than 2:1. The history of food allergy provides some answers starting with Charles Richet who coined the term anaphylaxis in 1913 to describe a sudden and unexpected prevalence of mass allergy related to pharmaceuticals.  Clemens von Pirquet in 1906 called these altered reactions in children allergy.  Combing the literature, Fraser discovered that outbreaks of peanut allergy began to occur only after WW II.  There was a slow but noticeable growth of the allergy in children through the late 1960s up until about 1989. Around 1990, there was an explosion of this allergy just in toddlers.  This moment is well documented by ER records, cohort studies of the time and eyewitness accounts.  Society only recognized the epidemic when this mass of allergic kids showed up for kindergarten. The surge of peanut and food allergic 4 and 5 year olds took everyone by surprise – school systems, teachers, parents, entire...

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What is this Facebook thing?

Mar 26

For some reason I totally missed putting Eat Nut-Free on Facebook! Well, it’s kind of empty now, but you can now become a fan at our new Facebook Fan Page! Remember to follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our News feed too! Now you can get our news and keep in touch from anywhere! Share...

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Introducing Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies!

Mar 18

Introducing Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies!

We were recently very pleased that Kraft Foods gave us the opportunity to try their new Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies. They come in three flavours — Oatmeal Cinnamon, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Double Chocolate — and are conveniently packaged in 30 gram snack-sized pouches, six per box. All three varieties are made in a peanut-free facility and so are perfect for school lunchboxes. Our son was so happy to try the new cookies, he didn’t waste any time getting to work. Not being as fond of chocolate as most children, our son decided that the Oatmeal Cinnamon flavour would likely be his favourite (and they were), so he started with them. He took his “job” quite seriously at first, studying the first cookie and calmly stating, “I like the colour” (incidentally, there are no artificial colours or artificial flavours in the cookies). Then, taking small nibbles, he continued, “I like that they’re soft and chewy. I really like the taste of it.” But soon he was excitedly exclaiming, “They’re YUMMY! I love them! I want another bag!” (By the way, the soft texture is due to added vegetable purée [zucchini, pumpkin, or carrot, depending on the flavour]). He’d eagerly polished off two packages before we introduced him to the next flavour, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. By then, he was munching away happily, mumbling out a “They’re nummy” between chews. Then, trying the Double Chocolate variety, he commented that they are “a lot chocolatey.” Soon, there were wrappers all over the place, and our satisfied boy said, “They should be in the stores so we can buy them. My friends would love them!” I’m certain that they will. These cookies did not last more that a few days in our house, and my husband and I only got a couple of small tastes. As for all those wrappers, Kraft Canada has a partnership with a company called TerraCycle, which allows the cookie wrappers to be collected and reycled. Through TerraCycle’s partnership with Kraft Canada,  groups such as schools and charites can earn money by collecting the used cookie packages, which TerraCycle then recycles, or “upcycles,” into items such as backpacks, pencil cases, and yoga totes.  That’s cool stuff! Mr. Christie Snak Paks Soft Baked Cookies will be available...

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The AllergyEats Blog

Mar 03

The AllergyEats Blog

Allergy Eats is a database site that takes your experiences in eating out and makes it available to the world. Well, to the USA. I tried searching in Canada and was unable to. Hopefully he will expand :). Paul wrote the following, I follow that by his press release. AllergyEats was 20 months in the making and lists over 600,000 restaurants that can be searched geographically and are sorted based on the restaurant’s level of  “allergy friendliness.”  This rating is derived from fellow food allergy and intolerant diners who choose to rate the restaurants by answering 3 simple questions.  Diners also have the opportunity to add comments to their quantitative ratings as well. As a standalone restaurant database, AllergyEats is a useful tool for locating places to dine. In addition, however, I have included features such as allergen information, gluten-free menus, industry certifications, and other relevant information where available. The site will grow in value for those with food allergies or intolerances as more restaurants are rated and comments posted. New Website Takes the Guesswork Out of Restaurant Dining for People with Food Allergies and Intolerances BOSTON (February 24, 2010) – If you or a loved one is prone to food allergies, you know the challenges of finding a restaurant where everyone will feel comfortable. That search has just gotten easier. A new website, www.allergyeats.com, combines the best of Internet technology with peer-to-peer information to help people know in advance how well (or poorly) a restaurant responds to people with food allergies and other food intolerances, such as Celiac Disease. The website lists over 600,000 restaurants in the United States and is searchable by geographic location, provides maps and driving directions, lists phone numbers and includes menus, industry certifications and other information of interest to food allergy sufferers when available. Users are encouraged to help the rest of the food allergy community by answering three simple questions (takes less than a minute) about their dining experience. The answers are compiled into an objective “allergy-friendliness rating” that gives users instantaneous at-a-glance information about the “allergy friendliness” of specific restaurants. There is also a place on the site for written comments, which will be monitored to ensure they contain only food-allergy related opinions. “This site is an outgrowth of the difficulty I...

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Reverse Allergy Alert Quaker Crispy Minis are Nut-Safe again

Mar 02

This is great news. We love rice snacks and the Quaker brand was always the best. When they started producing them on a line that also processed peanuts we were shocked and promptly dropped them from our grocery list. We were pleased to receive this notice today telling us they are reducing  the allergens by changing the production of some of their treats. NOTE: this is from the notice below. The changes will reduce the number of potential allergens in most flavours of rice chips products only. Allergen labeling on other Crispy Minis products, including Crispy Minis Bite Size rice chips, Crispy Minis Delights cookies and Crispy Minis rice cakes, remains the same. NOTICE FROM: PepsiCo Canada March 2010 IMPORTANT NOTICE: QUAKER BRAND TO REDUCE ALLERGENS IN SEVERAL CRISPY MINIS® RICE CHIPS As part of its ongoing mission to deliver healthy and convenient options that fit into a healthy lifestyle, PepsiCo Canada’s Quaker brand is making changes to its manufacturing and allergen control procedures for its Crispy Minis rice chips. The changes will reduce the number of potential allergens in most flavours of rice chips products only. Allergen labeling on other Crispy Minis products, including Crispy Minis Bite Size rice chips, Crispy Minis Delights cookies and Crispy Minis rice cakes, remains the same. The reduced allergen Crispy Minis rice chips are now on store shelves in major Canadian retail outlets. Accordingly, ingredients listings will be changing, and precautionary labeling will be adjusted only on affected products, as follows: CRISPY MINIS RICE CHIPS FLAVOUR CURRENT FORMULA NEW FORMULA Ketchup Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. May Contain Wheat, Egg, and Peanut Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients Sea Salt & Lime Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. May Contain Wheat, Egg, and Peanut Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients Salt & Vinegar Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. May Contain Wheat, Egg, and Peanut Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients Caramel Kettle Corn Contains Sulphites. May Contains Wheat, Milk, Soy, Egg and Peanut. Contains Sulphites. May Contain Soy. Crunchy Dill Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. May Contain Wheat, Egg, and Peanut. Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. Butter Popcorn Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. May Contain Wheat, Egg, and Peanut. Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients. Sweet Chili N/A new flavour Contains Soy and...

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