CTV Toronto – Article ‘cherry picks’ food allergy research: angry groups

Nov 18

CTV Toronto – Article ‘cherry picks’ food allergy research: angry groups
Sarah and Sabrina Shannon (2003). Picture courtesy of CTV.

Sarah and Sabrina Shannon (2003). Picture courtesy of CTV.

As a followup to the terrible article that they printed in their December issue “It’s Just Nuts”, Chatelaine plans to let the readers speak out with a January article from the many retorts they received.

Sara Shannon (Mother of Sabrina and allergy activist) chimes in this time  after writing to the editor of Chatelaine and others involved in the printing of “the article”.

Sabrina Shannon had such an interest in journalism that by the time she was 10, she produced a radio documentary. She hoped to educate people about kids who suffer from life-threatening allergies. Sabrina herself was allergic to peanuts, milk and soy and had to manage it every day by asking everyone what was in the food she ate.

But Sabrina didn't grow up to be a journalist. She died from an allergic reaction to french fries contaminated with dairy at her school in Pembroke, Ont. six years ago.

As Sabrina was on life support at an Ottawa hospital, her mother, Sara Shannon, promised her that she would become an activist for those suffering from anaphylaxis. Sabrina died a day later at age 13.

That is why Shannon, other parents, doctors and medical groups are livid at a magazine article which suggests parents are overreacting to the condition.

The article, called “It's just nuts,” appears in the December issue of Chatelaine. It mainly focuses on peanuts and suggests parents are overreacting to food allergies, anaphylactic reactions aren't as common as people think, and that death rates are low. The headline on the cover refers to a peanut allergy “myth.”

The groups who take issue with the article say it mocks parents who have to work hard to protect kids who can die from even invisible amounts of foods to which they are allergic. And they're unhappy with a photo on the article's front page that shows a boy opening his mouth with a piece of peanut butter sandwich on his tongue.

The article closes saying it isn't clear how big a threat peanuts pose, but with more research and debate, the writer's son might one day be able to eat peanuts at his school where they are banned.

In an email to CTV.ca, a spokesperson for the magazine thanked CTV for the opportunity to respond to the accusations but declined an interview.

“If we feel it is appropriate to respond, we will do so in the pages of our magazine,” wrote Suneel Khanna.

Chatelaine posted a note Monday on the online version of the article, saying the magazine plans to publish reader reaction in the January issue after receiving an unprecedented number of responses from readers.

Read much more via CTV Toronto – Article ‘cherry picks’ food allergy research: angry groups – CTV News, Shows and Sports — Canadian Television.