Archive for September, 2008

School lunch for FA kids…with a twist

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 29th, 2008

From The Newburyport News (Massachusetts): With plenty of experience adjusting to individual food allergies, Amesbury schools are taking a unique approach to making all students feel comfortable in the lunch room. Following a policy already tested at Amesbury Middle School, a new policy at Amesbury Elementary School calls for students consuming anything with nut products to sit at two designated tables. Children with peanut allergies are welcome to sit anywhere else. “We wanted to take the focus off the child and on to the product,” Amesbury Elementary School Principal Walter Helliesen said. – Read the details here.

Living, growing up with food allergies

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 29th, 2008

From the Niagra Falls Review (Canada): With her hair wet from her morning shower and still wearing her pajamas, Debbie Monroe-Fessler remembers frantically rushing her son to the hospital like it was yesterday. On the cold January day about 13 years ago, she and her husband decided to give their one-year-old son Marcus a cracker with peanut butter for the first time at breakfast. “We thought, wouldn’t it be great if Marcus had peanut butter? We all love peanut butter,” Monroe-Fessler recalls. But Marcus immediately had an allergic reaction, and Monroe-Fessler knew something was seriously  wrong. His face swelled up, including his eyes and his lips. Marcus, who was only a year and a half old, was gasping for air. – Read more here.

Workshop offers support, coping skills for parents

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 29th, 2008

From Reuters (UK): Workshops designed to provide support and coping skills to families with children allergic to nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, or other foods, appear to benefit both parents and children alike, researchers report.Post-workshop surveys indicated parents felt less burdened by and better able to handle their child’s food allergies than they were prior to attending the workshop, Dr. Jennifer LeBovidge, from Children’s Hospital Boston, in Massachusetts, and colleagues note.  – Read more details here.

Guide good for restaurants, customers with food allergies

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 28th, 2008

From Forth Worth Star Telegram (TX): With one in 25 Americans — that’s 12 million people — making special menu requests because of a food allergy, there’s an increased need for up-to-date and practical guidelines for restaurants to follow. “Take Action to Prevent an Allergic Reaction” is the theme for National Food Safety Education Month this month. Taking the “action” part seriously, the National Restaurant Association, in partnership with the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, has updated and revised its 60-page food-service training guide, “Welcoming Guests with Food Allergies.” – Read more here.

Allergy expert turns accepted theory on its head

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 28th, 2008

From ABC’s The World Today: Rising allergy rates among children have puzzled Australian doctors for years. The conventional wisdom has been to exclude from kids’ diets foods such as peanuts and eggs to try to prevent what can be a debilitating and even dangerous condition. But at least one expert is turning that theory on its head. He’s pushing for more and not less exposure to problem foods at a very early age. – Read the report’s transcript here.

FA kids must carry EpiPens in school, some schools say

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 28th, 2008

From Florida Today (Melbourne, FL):  Some Indialantic Elementary parents expressed concern this week over a letter making students — not teachers — responsible for auto-injectors used to stop serious allergic reactions. The policy affects all public schools, but only one school sent out the letter. It said an EpiPen, the trademark name for the most common device, must be kept in the school clinic unless the child has a doctor’s note, which permits him or her to keep it in a backpack. Previously, the student’s teacher would carry the EpiPen in a backpack and hand it off to another teacher for class changes. The parents worried that young students should not be made responsible. – Read the details here.

Home Free is free of many allergens

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 27th, 2008

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA):  We received samples of a new line of snacks, “home free,” which caught my eye because they promise to be free of just about everything: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, trans fats and cholesterol. Also allergen tested, certified organic, free of artificial colors and flavors, MSG, corn sweeteners, and for good measure, they’re kosher and free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, says the package. The treats are made in dedicated kitchens, which avoids cross-contamination from such things as nuts. They’re marketed as good for children with food allergies, which are no small concern. Information sent by home free’s marketer says the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, an advocacy group, estimates 2.2 million schoolchildren have food allergies. I had a dear high school classmate die, suddenly and unexpectedly, in adulthood of anaphylactic shock, a very hard lesson in how allergies must be taken seriously. Our roving band of taste-testing staffers chomped on Soft Oatmeal, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Mini Chocolate Chip cookies. The Soft Oatmeal received the most favorable comments; other kinds were found to be somewhat dry or lacking flavor. I liked the Mini Chocolate Chip best. The company, based in New Hampshire, was founded by Jill Robbins, whose son has severe food allergies. For more information, call 1-800-552-7172 or go to homefreetreats.com.

Parents face challenges when raising an FA child

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 27th, 2008

From the Shreveport Times (LA): Luke Babin is 6 years old and has never eaten from a kid’s menu at a fast-food restaurant. He doesn’t visit neighborhood children to play with them in their homes. And he has never eaten ice cream. Luke, one of millions of Americans with food allergies, had his first emergency room visit when he was just 9 months old. – Check it out here. This story gives its readers an inside look at life with an FA child. As the parent of a child with an anaphylactic allergy to milk, I could relate to some aspects of the Babin’s experiences. Little things that bother me about the story, however, include the fact that the writer refers to the allergy as one involving dairy products. That’s not entirely accurate and can lead to more confusion. Just say milk and its proteins.  Of course, that doesn’t reduce the usual confusion over the many names by which milk is identified. Read the story…you’ll see.

Allergy alert – nuts, milk, seafood

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 27th, 2008

From RedOrbit (Dallas, TX): UK’s Food Standards Agency has announced that two ready meal products sold in Asda stores and smaller retailers do not have the correct allergen labeling. According to the agency, it has been informed that both the products contain nuts and ghee (milk) but the product’s allergen information only mentions the presence of seafood. – Click here for the alert. However, since the short piece doesn’t mention what kind of nuts (peanuts? treenuts?), I checked on another site and discovered that the offending ingredient is cashew nuts.

Posted by RoseBoccio on September 27th, 2008

From WebMD.com: There is early evidence that eating fish in infancy may help protect against eczema in early childhood. Babies in a newly published study whose diets included fish before the age of 9 months were 24% less likely to develop eczema by their first birthdays than babies who did not eat fish. The infants were enrolled in an ongoing health study in Sweden that is following almost 17,000 children from birth though childhood. Having a mother or sibling with eczema was the strongest risk factor for developing the allergic skin condition during the first year of life. But the impact of early fish consumption on risk was significant, lead author Bernt Alm, MD, PhD, of Sweden’s Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, tells WebMD. – Check out the detail here.