« April 2007 | Main | July 2007 »

May 31, 2007

New Theory as to Why Peanut Allergy Continues to Grow in USA

According to a recent article at Mlive.com, "researchers theorized that peanut allergies are more prevalent in the United States because dry-roasting, the high-temperature method used to process nuts here, including for peanut butter, makes the peanuts more allergenic than using them in other ways. According to the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai, though per capita consumption of peanuts in China is about the same as in the United States, there are virtually no peanut allergies."

The Jaffe Food Allergy Institute was established in 1997 and is directed by Hugh A. Sampson, M.D., well-known and respected allergist and food allergy researcher. You can learn more about the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute by visiting their website.

Posted by David at 5:12 PM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2007

University of Michigan Opens Specialty Food Allergy Clinic

University of Michigan opened a new food allergy clinic in early May to help serve growing numbers of children and adults with food allergies. The new clinic includes an educational room and even a kitchen.

For more information about the University of Michigan's new food allergy clinic, visit their website or call 734-647-5940 or 888-229-2409.

You can read more about the new food allergy clinic at Mlive.com.

Posted by David at 7:45 AM

May 10, 2007

Problems with Food Allergy Warning Labels

NPR published an online food allergy article regarding the new labeling law that went into effect in 2006. By now, you probaly know about this law. Starting in 2006, all food products must clearly state whether they have one of the top allergens (peanuts, egg, milk, soy, tree nuts, wheat, fish). But there are still problems with the labels that you have to watch out for.

The now common MAY CONTAIN label is unregulated by the FDA. This label is a catch-all (or CYA, if you prefer) for companies that don't have a "clean" manufacturing environment (that is, each product line controls its ingredients to ensure no cross contamination). I've been in "clean" manufacturing facilities before and know well that it takes a lot of effort and money to ensure an environment without cross contamination. The pharma manufactures have this as a standard but their product margins are quite different than most food manufacturers.

The real problem is what does "may contain" really mean? Maybe that product is loaded with peanuts, maybe there is none. The NPR article mentions that teens are ignoring the label due to its ambiguity and the fact that it is found on so many products. That's a scarey thing but teens are known for taking risks.

Posted by David at 7:53 AM | Comments (1)

May 9, 2007

Can Kids with Food Allergies Have a "Happy Life"?

I read the online article from a Florida paper this week and was surprised to read this...

Public understanding of allergies is getting better, said Judy Perkin, professor and chairwoman of the department of public health at University of North Florida.

More people are realizing that parents of allergic children are not simply paranoid or silly.

That gets the fun back into parties, she said, regardless of what ingredients are in the cake.

"If you know someone has an allergy, be very supportive of them," she said. "They can still have a happy life."

A happy life? Hmm. Makes me think that Ms. Perkin doesn't have a personal relationship with a child that has life threatening food allergies. She makes it sound like if you have a food allergy, life is a downer.

My kids are happy... I mean pretty darn happy. Sure, a severe child food allery requires both the parent and child to take extra precautions at social functions or if they venture out for a meal, but that doesn't mean the child cannot enjoy themselves.

We've said it before, sometimes our food allergic children feel special in a good way. Like when there single cupcake looks and tastes better than the treat that another parent brought into the classroom or to the party.

Life is as good as you live it. Our children see that and we need to be examples of how to live happy. Managing child food allergies is simply another area of our lives where we can be an example for our kids.

Go forth. Live happy.

Posted by David at 7:37 AM | Comments (4)