August 31, 2006
Whole Foods Markets Step Up to Help FAAN
Back-to-school season leaves parents of children with food allergies searching for safe food choices for the lunchbox. Whole Foods Market has been a resource for families with food allergies as the store carries many products for special diets. It also provides a live product listing on its web site for shoppers with special diets including gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, reduced sugar, low sodium, soy, and low fat.
To raise awareness about food allergies and support the national effort to find a cure, five Whole Foods Markets locations in Massachusetts held a 5% Day on Tuesday, Aug. 29, to benefit the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). FAAN is a non-profit organization that raises public awareness, provides advocacy and education, and works to advance research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. Five percent of the day's sales in each store will be donated to FAAN's local fund-raiser.
According to FAAN, food allergy reactions result in over 30,000 emergency room visits each year, and it's estimated that nearly 200 people die annually from anaphylaxis to food, including children and young adults. FAAN also reports that 12 million Americans live with this potentially life-threatening disorder.
In order to continue its mission to one day finding a cure to food allergy, FAAN is sponsoring walks across the nation benefiting food allergy research and education.
Each of the five Whole Foods Market locations hosted a representative from FAAN to talk to customers about its organization and resources available. In addition, product tastings and vendor demonstrations will be happening throughout the day.
To learn more about Whole Foods Market's on line Special Diets resource, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/specialdiets/index.html.
Posted by David at 4:36 PM
August 30, 2006
What Everyone Should Know About Child Food Allergies
Child Food Allergies are all around us. Whether you child has them or you know kids with food allergies, there are some things you should know. Our friends at FAAN have compiled a list of 6 things everyone should know about food allergies.
1. There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to prevent a reaction. Trace amounts of an allergic food is enough to cause a life threatening reaction, known as anaphylaxis. Do your best to adhere to guidelines and food policies in your child’s class so every child will be safe.
2. One in every 17 children under 3 has food allergies. Symptoms range from a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and many more serious reactions. If you suspect that your child could have a food allergy, discuss it with your pediatrician. He or she will likely have you keep a food diary, for 1 to 2 weeks, of everything your child eats, what symptoms they experience, and how long after eating they occur. This information, combined with a physical examination and lab tests, will help the doctor determine what, if any, food is causing symptoms.
3. Eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans etc.), wheat, soy, fish, shellfish (lobster, crab shrimp etc.) Although, a person can be allergic to any food. Every day products like, cupcakes, crackers, candies, chips, finger paints, molding clays, soaps and shampoos have traces of these products. Parents of children with food allergies must be extra vigilant about finding foods and products that are safe for their kids.
4. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting. Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction that can involve various areas of the body (such as the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular system). Symptoms occur within minutes to two hours after contact with the allergy-causing substance but, in rare instances, may occur up to four hours later. Anaphylactic reactions can be mild to life threatening. This is an extremely scary scenario for many parents - if you suspect a child in your care may be having a reaction, call 911 immediately.
5. Food allergy reactions account for over 30,000 emergency room trips each year. It is estimated that 150 to 200 people die annually due to anaphylaxis from food allergies. It’s a serious condition.
6. Approximately 2.2 million school-aged children have food allergies. According to a recent survey done by 400 school nurses for the Journal of School Nursing, 94 percent of the nurses have at least one student with potentially life threatening food allergies. According to the same survey the average public school in the U.S. currently has 10 students with food allergies.
Food allergy facts obtained from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). FAAN advocates for state and federal laws, policies, and regulations that can improve the lives of individuals affected by food allergy and anaphylaxis. To lean more about food allergies log onto their Web site www.foodallergy.org.
Posted by David at 4:28 PM
August 29, 2006
Chef serves up special menu for allergy sufferers
Chef serves up special menu for allergy sufferers
by HEATHER GREENWOOD DAVIS
Chicago—When Dominique Tougne slides into the seat across from me at Bistro 110, he is wearing his trademark chef's jacket and a grin from ear to ear.
Before I even open my notebook, the executive chef of the saucy neighbourhood restaurant located just off the famous Magnificent Mile reaches into his pocket and pulls out his latest gift from a happy patron: a pair of Popsicle sticks bound together with lilac string.
It's from a child who enjoyed his meal and while Tougne is clearly pleased with the gift, it's not his favourite.
The gift he loves most comes from families who trust him with the lives of their children and lately it has happened quite often.
Just about a week ago, a 7-year-old girl with a peanut allergy ate dinner in his restaurant.
"It was the first time in her life that they went to eat outside (their home)," he stresses, leaning across the table. "The first time. In seven years!"
The fact that they chose Bistro 110 no longer surprises Tougne, who works tirelessly to ensure that the restaurant caters to people who suffer from food allergies of all kinds.
It's an area of the population that has been largely ignored by the restaurant community despite statistics that show 1.5 per cent of adults and up to 6 per cent of children under the age of 3 in America — about four million people — have food allergies of some sort.
In Canada, an estimated 5 per cent of children are afflicted.
The parents of these children often struggle with feeding them at home, never mind at a restaurant, explains Tougne.
He should know.
Posted by David at 10:21 AM
August 22, 2006
Should your insurance pay for food if you have a food allergy?
Source: Motley Fool online
Make Your Insurer Pay
By Tim Beyers
Both of my sons have food allergies. For my oldest, Benjamin, protein is life-threatening. How's that possible, you ask? I've no idea. But I've experienced enough close calls with him to know that's the way it is.
So, we deal. But it gets hard, particularly from a financial standpoint. Ben's only source of protein is an amino acid-based medical food called Neocate that costs us $6,000 annually. At least it used to. No longer.
Our insurance company comes through
For years, we've been appealing to our insurance carrier to help us with the cost of Neocate. Until recently, every effort stalled in a pile of bureaucratic red tape. Now, Ben's allergy doctor prescribes the food, submitting the order directly to our insurer's mail-order pharmacy. We received the last of a three-month supply of Neocate just an hour ago. A bill for a mere fraction of the $1,500 we would have paid should arrive within a week.
The moral? A fortune may be hiding in your insurance policy. So read it, and then do whatever it takes to get your insurer to pay up when there's reasonable evidence it should.
Four steps to appeal a denied claim... more
August 21, 2006
FAAN Back to School with Food Allergy Recommendations
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) Has an Important Warning for Parents of Children With Severe Allergies
NEW YORK, Aug. 15 PRNewswire - It is estimated that two million school-aged children have food allergies, and for the parents of these children, back-to-school planning is a particularly stressful time. Developing cafeteria emergency plans to protect against a possible fatal reaction is crucial, but there are classroom dangers as well.
According to Anne Munoz-Furlong, Founder and CEO of The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), the nation's leading nonprofit, patient advocacy organization providing education and awareness on food allergy and anaphylaxis, the majority of allergic reactions to foods occur from foods used during class projects or as incentives in the classroom. The top eight allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy, and any school project that contains these foods increases a child's risk.
For example, peanut jars may be used to hold crayons; wheat can be found in papier mache; peanut can be found in play dough; tree nuts are often found in "fossil digs" during school field trips to museums; and egg is sometimes used to thicken tempera paint. Before sending a child with severe allergies back to school this year, parents should take the following precautions:
> Meet with school staff to go over all allergy needs, and tour the classroom.
> Go through art and science supply closets to check materials and labels.
> Tell teachers to call you when new materials come into the classroom.
> Suggest substituting food rewards, like candy, with stickers, or pencils.
For more information, please visit: http://www.foodallergy.org.
Posted by David at 12:38 PM
August 17, 2006
Casual contact with peanut butter in children with peanut allergy not a threat
A study of the relevance of casual contact with peanut butter in children with peanut allergy showed little risk. The study was conducted at the Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Casual skin contact or inhalation of peanut butter fumes is reported and feared to cause allergic reactions in highly sensitive children with peanut allergy. The study sought to determine the risk of exposure to peanut butter by means of inhalation and skin contact in children with peanut allergy.
Children with peanut allergy who have experienced clinical anaphylaxis underwent double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized exposures to peanut butter by means of contact with intact skin (0.2 mL pressed flat for 1 minute) and inhalation (surface area of 6.3 square inches 12 inches from the face for 10 minutes). Placebo challenges were performed by using soy butter mixed with histamine, and scent was masked.
Thirty children underwent the challenges (median age, 7.7 years old). 13 of the kids had prior history of contact and 11 with inhalation reactions. None experienced a systemic or respiratory reaction. The study showed, with 96% confidence, that at least 90% of highly sensitive children with peanut allergy would not experience a systemic-respiratory reaction from casual exposure to peanut butter.
The conclusion? Casual exposure to peanut butter is unlikely to elicit significant allergic reactions. The researchers did point out that the results cannot be generalized to larger exposures or to contact with peanut in other forms (flour and roasted peanuts).
Go to the 2003 Study
August 16, 2006
FAAN Travel Recommendations
Airport Security Alert
What Allergic Passengers Need to Know
August 10, 2006
Because of heightened security measures in airports, the Transportation Security Administration has announced that:
“NO LIQUIDS OR GELS OF ANY KIND WILL BE PERMITTED IN CARRY-ON BAGGAGE. ITEMS MUST BE IN CHECKED BAGGAGE.”
This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
Exception: Baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child Is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines.
Check with the Transportation Security Administration at http://www.tsa.gov for the latest information about restricted items.
FAAN has these recommendations:
If you carry an epinephrine auto-injector, or other prescription medication, be sure that the pharmacy label is attached, and that the name matches the passenger's identification. Carry a letter from your doctor that explains the need for this medication. A sample letter is available on the FAAN Web site at http://www.foodallergy.org/Advocacy/airlines.html
If you carry a liquid medication, such as Benadryl®, you may encounter close scrutiny. Before your trip you may want to ask your doctor about possible alternatives, such as self-dissolve tablets. Be sure to check the ingredients on any new medication. More information is available about self- dissolve tablets on the FAAN Web site at
Posted by David at 8:11 AM
August 15, 2006
Airport Security Causes Issues for Food Allergy Sufferers
The recent international terrorism attempts have caused some airports to tighten security measures so much that food allergy sufferers need to re-thing travel plans. Members of the public cannot bring food through security gates, even if they have a doctor's confirmation they suffer from a food allergy.
The new security measures at UK airports will cause problems for thousands of air passengers who suffer from a food allergy. People traveling on international flights could be forced to go without proper food for very long periods of time.
The recommendation is that people suffering from food allergies contact their airline ahead of departure to ensure alternative food will be available during their flight. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about counting on the airlines to provide a peanut-free and wheat-free meal for my food allergic child. Wait, yes I am sure how I feel. The answer is simply, no thanks.
Posted by David at 9:38 AM
August 14, 2006
MA Senate approves food allergy bill
The Massachusetts Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill sponsored by Senator Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, to require food allergy training for restaurant managers and to increase awareness of the safety issues surrounding complications from food allergies for all restaurant personnel. The bill, entitled An Act Promoting Food Allergy Awareness in Restaurants, was adopted by a unanimous vote in the Senate.
Senator Creem was inspired to file this legislation by a young constituent who suffers from food allergies. Julia Stern, who was still in high school when she first sought the assistance of Senator Creem, is a Newton resident who found it difficult to dine at restaurants.
"This is very significant step in the process of food allergy awareness - an issue affecting more and more Americans each year," said Stern. "I believe it will bring great peace of mind to the thousands of Massachusetts residents who would simply like to eat in a restaurant without the fear of hidden ingredients or misunderstandings. I urge the House to pass this potentially life-saving bill."
In addition to Stern, Ming Tsai, celebrity chef/owner of Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley also took up the cause.
Senator Creem's bill would require that food allergy training be included as part of the food safety manager certification course. Additionally, it mandates the posting in restaurant staff areas of a poster providing general information on food allergies as they relate to food preparation, and it would require menus to include a statement that the customer should inform the wait staff of any food allergy issues.
Posted by David at 10:13 AM
August 11, 2006
Breast feed only for first 6 months
Researchers recommend infants receive only breast milk until the child is six months old to prevent food allergies, according to an article by Reuters Health. While there are no specific guidelines to determine when children should begin eating solid foods, allergists say children who receive solid foods within the first four months of life have an increased risk of developing food allergies. The allergists also advise parents to wait until a child is at least 3 years old before allowing them to eat peanuts, cashews, fish and seafood. The report appears in the July issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
From the report...
Pediatricians and allergists should cautiously individualize the introduction of solids into the infants' diet. With assessed risk of allergy, the optimal age for the introduction of selected supplemental foods should be 6 months, dairy products 12 months, hen's egg 24 months, and peanut, tree nuts, fish, and seafood at least 36 months. For all infants, complementary feeding can be introduced from the sixth month, and egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and seafood introduction require caution. Foods should be introduced one at a time in small amounts. Mixed foods containing various food allergens should not be given unless tolerance to every ingredient has been assessed.
Source: Business Wire
Posted by David at 10:06 AM