Food allergies, school, and the real world

“Eventually you’re going to have to teach that kid to live in the real world, you know.” In the context of conversations about the management of food allergies in school, I have heard this phrase more times than I can count, offered as an argument against making accommodations to keep children with food allergies safe and included in school environments. And over the many times I’ve heard it, I have come to realize that it is a very illogical argument. There are at least two major logical problems with it: First, let’s address that word, “eventually.” Eventually, three-year-olds will be … Read more

Road Tripping with Food Allergies, Part Three: Find Safe Food on the Road

Food allergy road sign | When Peanuts Attack

So you, savvy food allergy traveler, did the right thing, and planned ahead for a safe, food-allergy friendly road trip. You made a list of allergy-friendly restaurants on your route. You packed safe snacks– more than you thought you would need. But you’ve had an unexpected travel delay, you’re nowhere near a safe restaurant, your food supplies are running low, and frankly, you’re flat-out sick of snack bars. Now what? We all know travel plans are subject to change. Even careful travelers who plan ahead for safe food allergy management can run into circumstances that leave them at a loss … Read more

Road Tripping with Food Allergies, Part Two: How to Pack

Pack your suitcase | When Peanuts Attack

Picture this: After a long day of driving that included a wrong turn at Albuquerque, a crazy detour around unexpected road construction, a sudden thunderstorm, and at least five separate arguments between two cranky kids in the back seat of your car, it’s well past dinner time, and you find yourself, not sitting down to eat at the amazing, allergy-friendly restaurant you made a reservation at two weeks ago, but instead, standing in front of a rest stop vending machine, staring in despair at a selection of 12 suspicious looking snack-foods you cannot see the ingredient labels for. Fear not, … Read more

Road Tripping with Food Allergies, Part One: Plan Your Route

Ah, the open road. How it calls in the summer. Pack a suitcase, grab a friend, or your family, and get away from it all! Set out in your car with the windows down, the radio on, and a map to someplace you’ve never been before in your pocket. See the sights: rolling hills, cows, impressive sculptures of cows, and giant balls of twine! Eat at random roadside cafes and truck stop diners! Wait. Actually, if you have a food allergy, you should probably not do that last thing. Use these actually road-tested tips for taking a safe road trip … Read more

Peanut-free Easter treats for kids

Chocolate Easter Bunny | When Peanuts Attack

It can be a bit of a challenge to find peanut-free treats for Easter baskets. Most of those cute chocolate bunnies and eggs on grocery and drug store shelves have a not-so-cute MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS OR TREE NUTS warning on the back. And even candies that don’t have allergen advisory labeling may pose some risk, since companies are not required by the FDA to label for the risk of accidental allergen cross contact. Luckily, this year, the Easter Bunny has helpfully provided When Peanuts Attack with a list of allergy-friendly companies that make safe Easter treats for children with peanut … Read more

Treats without tricks for a food allergy friendly Halloween

Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year, but stumped on finding food allergy friendly, food-free treats for Halloween? Here are some ideas: Spinning tops. Plastic spiders.   Bouncy balls. Glow sticks. Water bottles. (Seriously — these were my most popular item last year — do you know how far kids walk trick-or-treating?) Want to put out a separate bowl of allergy-friendly candy, too, in addition to your food-free Teal Pumpkin treats? Try these nut-free and top 8 free Halloween candies.

There is no A for effort in food allergies

It does not matter how much love you put into it. It does not matter how long you spent preparing it. It does not matter how pretty it looks, or how much money you spent on it. It does not matter whether it’s delicious. It doesn’t matter how hard you feel you tried to make the food safe, or how much you wanted the food to be safe. If a food is not safe for a person with a food allergy to eat, it’s just not. And you should not expect a person with a food allergy to eat it. … Read more

How to report an allergic reaction to the FDA or USDA

Did you know that undeclared food allergens are a leading cause of food recalls in the United States? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), from September 2009 to September 2012, about one-third of reports to the agency for serious food safety violations involved top 8 food allergens that were not properly listed on food labels. The foods most often reported to the FDA for containing undeclared allergens include bakery products (like bread, cakes, and cupcakes), snack foods, candy, and dairy products. The allergens most often involved in FDA food safety recalls have been milk, wheat and soy. The … Read more

Help kids with food allergies have a safe and happy Halloween

NOTICE for anyone who would like to help keep the 1 out of 13 American kids who have food allergies safe and out of the hospital tonight: Consider the following options for safer Halloween treats: Nut-free candies: Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Charms lollipops, Charms Blow Pops, Dubble Bubble bubble gum, Charleston Chew, Dots gumdrops, Sweetarts, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Smarties. Top-8-allergen-free candies: Dum Dums lollipops, YumEarth lollipops, YumEarth gummy candies, Surf Sweets jellybeans, Surf Sweets gummy candies. Candy alternatives: Bouncy balls, glow bracelets, glow sticks stickers, plastic spiders, plastic skulls, pencils, bubble bottles. Note that even allergy-friendly candies might be packaged … Read more

The FDA says people with peanut allergies should avoid all ground cumin for now. How do you?

After months of recalls of cumin, spice mixes that contain cumin, and hundreds of thousands of pounds of packaged foods that contain cumin due to the presence of undeclared peanut and tree nut ingredients, on February 18th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally issued a public advisory statement warning people with peanut allergies “to consider avoiding products that contain ground cumin or cumin powder.” The advisory goes on to say: The FDA is continuing to identify companies that received shipments of the ground cumin that contained undeclared peanuts and work with them to remove these products from the market. … Read more