December 3, 2008
Watch Out for Hidden Allergens
I start this blog entry with...UGH! Those of us dealing with our child's food allergies have heard over and over, check and double check ingredients of every food you buy every time you buy it. Campbell's is a well-known company and I generally trust their labels. I was a bit discouraged though on my most recent trip to the store. Campbell's has a new line of soups out called Select Harvest. It's marketed as a healthier choice, without MSG or artificial flavors. Be careful! Their Chicken Tortilla soup contains peanut oil. It's listed in the middle of the ingredient list, but it is not in bold type nor is there a warning statement anywhere else on the label. I know Campbell's did their job by listing it in the ingredients. I just thought that by now, bigger companies would at least put the top allergens in bold letters, if not have a separate warning statement.
It's a good reminder that it really is important to read every label every time.
October 6, 2008
Cherrybrook Kitchen comes through again!
I love Cherrybrook Kitchen!! This company makes great allergy free mixes. My favorite part is the wheat free products! They have new wheat free products that my daughter LOVES! Mini vanilla and mini chocolate chip cookies. Great for lunch boxes! And they have super easy cake mixes that taste good too! If you haven't already, check out Cherrybrook Kitchen.
March 26, 2008
Trace Adkins for Food Allergies
I'm sure those of us familiar with food allergies might also be aware that Trace Adkins is up for a pretty hefty sum of money to donate to a charity of his choice. He is still in the running on NBC's show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” His charity contribution could be huge for all of us because he's chosen to give the money to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN).
According to a recent FAAN article, "Adkins is competing in business-driven tasks around New York City to raise money and awareness for FAAN, his designated charity. Throughout the series, over a million dollars will be raised for various charities, and the winner who gets crowned as the first “Celebrity Apprentice” will also have the honor of delivering a $250,000 bonus check to their charity of choice."
Trace has a little girl with food allergies. According to FAAN, "it was because of his daughter’s experience that Trace was motivated to join the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). “I know firsthand how important FAAN’s efforts to increase funding for food allergy research are,” says Trace. He and his family turn to FAAN for help managing Brianna’s food allergies, and now Trace is helping FAAN as its national spokesperson." To learn more about Trace Adkins and his connection with FAAN, check out FAAN's website.
February 17, 2008
Kudos for great allergy-free cookies
I have kudos to share for a great allergy-free company! I buy several varieties of Enjoy Life cookies for my daughter with food allergies. The best part for us is that they are free of all of the top allergens, including wheat. They are great to throw in a lunch box or for a treat when others are eating foods that are off limits. Even though they are store bought, they are soft and NOT gritty (as many wheat-free foods are).
Another testimony to these cookies comes from my children without food allergies. Even though they can choose anything to eat, they consistently want the Enjoy Life cookies. Yes, they are that good!!!
January 22, 2008
Reaction to the New York Times story "Mom takes on Big Food over kids’ food allergies"
I’m sure many of you have already read the New York Times story from earlier this month about Robyn O’Brien, the mom who “Takes on Big Food over kids’ food allergies,” O’Brien was the kind of mom who rolled her eyes at kids with peanut allergies. Then, about two years ago, she had a personal run in with food allergies. Just like in most of our stories, she fed her child a food that would forever change their lives. She found out the hard way that her daughter was allergic to eggs.
Here are some excerpts from the New York Times article:
“Sitting at the table in her suburban kitchen, with her four young children tumbling in and out, O’Brien, 36, seems an unlikely candidate to be food’s Erin Brockovich (who, by the way, has taken O’Brien under her wing).
Her theory — that the food supply is being manipulated with additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides, causing increases in allergies, autism and other disorders in children — is not supported by leading researchers or the largest allergy advocacy groups.
O’Brien encourages people to do what she did: Throw out as much nonorganic processed food as you can afford to. Avoid anything genetically modified, artificially created or raised with hormones. Don’t eat food with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Could it be that a toxic food environment has made children’s immune systems go haywire? It’s hard to find an expert in the field who supports O’Brien’s theory.
She asserts that the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), the nation’s leading food allergy advocacy group, is tainted by the money it receives from food manufacturers and peanut growers.
Although Kraft did help the organization (FAAN) start its Web site and other food manufacturing companies and trade groups sponsor some of its programs, that support has amounted to about $100,000. Munoz-Furlong said that she and doctors on her medical board do not believe that genetically modified foods cause food allergies because most children with allergies react to specific foods, such as eggs or milk. And, she said, communicating regularly with industry can help get the word to parents about potential allergens in products, and supporting research to identify causes of allergies helps consumers more than companies.
She also cautioned against taking the advice of people who have no medical training or run Web sites not certified to have reliable medical information. “She’s a dot-com,” Munoz-Furlong said of O’Brien. “It’s completely different than a dot-org. From the very beginning our intent was education.”
It’s great that there is yet another parent rallying for the safety of her child. I’m a bit cautious about O’Brien though, especially the part where she dings the Food Allergy Network. Come on, it is a solid foundation with many reputable allergists! And it’s one of the best voices we have in the fight for research, education and awareness nation-wide. I’m all for sticking together for our cause of food safety. But let’s keep our feet grounded, so we don’t get the reputation of being overly-protective nut jobs!
It's people like O’Brien that make it difficult for the majority of us other parents who simply want to create a safe environment for our children. This novice food allergy parent's use of scare tactics, criticism and personal recommendations not supported by research actually causes those of us who have made progress to take two steps back! Ugh!!
January 17, 2008
Kudos to Sara Lee
When I wrote the last entry on food allergies and labeling, it got me thinking again. I really need to give kudos to Sara Lee. They have completely won over my heart!! They are one of the only brands of bread that I buy anymore. They have not yet added traces of tree nuts or peanuts or eggs to their bread products. It makes it much easier for me to buy hamburger and hot dog buns for our picnics and even just sandwich bread for school lunches.
Thank you Sara Lee!! I wish you were a person, because I’d invite you over for an allergy-free dinner so you could see the smiles on our faces first hand! There are so many foods being added to the “can’t have” list, that I think we should start appreciating those companies who keep the allergens and cross contamination to a minimum.
January 2, 2008
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! My husband moved onto a new venture and put me in the driver’s seat. So here I am, a mother of children with food allergies, actually 2 with food allergies and 2 without. I’ve been dealing with food allergies for a long time now (upwards of over 10 years) and I am eager to share with you what I’ve learned.
Like the rest of you, I continue to learn as life goes along. My oldest will be heading off to Jr. High next year, which will bring a whole new set of rules. Right now, I have a fairly good handle on the preschool and elementary school worlds. And I figure by the end of 2008, as I start navigating the Jr. High thing, I’ll have lots of new things to share. I am even hoping that my 12 year old will share some of her thoughts with you!
I look forward to sharing in your allergy-friendly world.
Posted by Ann Marie at 7:34 AM
December 23, 2007
Making the Transition - Helping Others with Their Career Change
I need to apologize to our readers for checking out over the past several months. This past summer I made a career transition and it has taken all of my time and attention. ChildFoodAllergy.com was one of the things put on the back burner.
My new gig is running an online career site dedicated to helping people find private equity and venture capital jobs and hedge fund jobs. JobSearchDigest.com is a great, web-based career service that caters to professionals in niche industries.
The good news is that my lovely wife, Ann Marie, is going to take the lead on the food allergy blog. You can now look forward to more frequent, fun, emotional posts from a mom who has gone above and beyond in terms of caring for her children with food allergies. And, yes, I will still chime in here and there just to inject that father's point of view. ;-)
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.
March 31, 2007
More products from AllergyHaven.com
Another product sample we received from AllergyHaven.com was a tiny toddler t-shirt with a fun graphic stating this child is allergic to nuts.
Although we no longer need tiny t-shirts in our home, what a great idea!!! We wish we had some of these cute designs when our kids were toddlers! This would be a good idea for those kids allergic to milk or eggs too.
They also sent some pantry labels as well. The stickers for the pantry are a great way to foster their independence and empower the kids with food choices. The stickers come in two colors: red=not okay and orange=okay to eat. We thought the "OK" food stickers should be green to follow the red=stop and green=go thinking.
To see more of their products, go to AllergyHaven.com.
Posted by David at 10:42 AM
March 26, 2007
AllergyHaven.com product review
We recently received a few products from AllergyHaven to review.
We tried them out with our 11 year old daughter.
The belted fanny pack for the Epi-pens was great. She liked that it was soft material and it actually fit her body. I like that it holds 2 Epi-pens and has a red medicine tag on the outside to alert others in case of an emergency.
The scout-type buckle makes the size fully adjustable, although takes some getting used to. Our daughter said it would be good for school field trips! I took it camping last weekend and found it to be much more comfortable than our bulky, regular-sized fanny pack. Forget putting a cell phone and snacks in it, this is a single use pack - just right for those long days of wearing it around.
We also looked at a pocket-purse style Epi-pen holder. It is compact and seems easy enough to throw in a larger purse, a sports bag or even a school backpack! We thought the red medicine tag could be sewn on the outside like the other pack. We also thought the material could be made of a waterproof or at least a more durable material if it was going to be in a sports bag or backpack. My daughter thought there could be the option of having different sports-motif patterned materials, like soccer balls or softballs.
Overall, these are high quality products that should last many years of regular use. Thank you to the folks at AllergyHaven for creating products the Child Food Allergy community needs!
February 25, 2007
Author Upsets the Child Food Allergy Community
You may have heard of the author Todd Wilbur, not exactly a friend of the food allergy crowd. Mr. Wilbur recreates restaurant recipes and reprints them in book form. Apparently he's been pretty successful, including a spot on the Oprah show.
Well, anyway, he upset quite a few folks in the child food allergy community by making this comment in a recent article
"On the 'Oprah' show, I faked a food allergy to get the T.G.I. Friday's Jack Daniel's grill glaze ingredients."
Oh boy, faking a food allergy? You shouldn't have done that, Mr. Wilbur. Here is what some parent said online...
"What's next in you career, feigning CANCER? Do copyright laws mean nothing to you? Why aren't you in jail?"
"...How dare u pretend to be allergic to something and make all this money while many of us have children who are very allergic to foods. ... Wake up and think of other people in this world not just your own."
"...I spend a lot of time contacting manufacturers, trying to find out if there is something in their products that would kill my child. I never understood why many manufacturers would ask for a doctor's note to release information on ingredients. After reading this article about Mr. Wilbur making a mockery of life threatening food allergies, I now know why it is so difficult to gather information to keep my child safe. This man should be ashamed of himself."
"...I have spent hours on the phone with companies making sure that the product won't kill my son. This just makes it harder for me to get the information I need to keep my son alive and healthy."
"Talk about self-serving!!! How could you PRETEND to have food allergies basically to STEAL recipes for profit? You should be ashamed of yourself. Did you ever stop to think that by doing this you might actually make it more difficult for the parents of children who really and truly suffer from food allergies to keep their children safe....and even alive?..."
STRONG reaction from food allergy parents. And I have to agree on this one. First off, the restaurant biz is hard enough but I'll leave the copywrite issues alone... I am much more concerned about using a real, life-threatening condition under false pretenses to gather proprietary information.
Mr. Wilbur, your methods make our lives as food allergy parents more difficult and we ask that you stop using that data collection method. And Oprah? Well, guests like this are likely not adding to your fan base.
February 8, 2007
What was she thinking? A peanut allergy dining mishap
Once again I've read something that just doesnt make sense. A woman with a peanut allergy went into a Thai restaurant and asked for a peanut free dish...
[she] informed the waiters at a Thai restaurant in Newtown of her allergy, ordered dishes unlikely to have peanut in them and was reassured repeatedly that there were no nuts in her meal. Nonetheless there was peanut in her food and her allergic reaction was so severe she was left with permanent brain damage. Townsend was 32 at the time and a mother of two young children. In 2000, the restaurant paid an undisclosed sum, out of court, for her ongoing medical care.
Does anyone see the root of the problem here? I'm pretty sure the woman is in the wrong for going into an Thai place and asking for assurance there wouldn't be peanut in her meal. Can you spell cross contamination? Sure, it can happen anywhere but the ODDS of it happening in a Thai restaurant must be 100 times greater than in a burger joint.
To top it off, the restaurant paid "an undisclosed sum" to her. I hope that undislosed sum is less than $100. Should the restaurant have promised anything to a person with a food allergy, especially peanut allergy? No, probably not.
Sometimes its simply a case of buyer beware. Let's be more than safe; let's be smart.
January 29, 2007
Crazy food allergy solutions
So, have you heard about the "simple test" you can do if you think you have a food allergy? Here's how it theory goes... if you suspect that you are allergic to a specific food, record your pulse rate after consuming the food in question, then wait fifteen minutes and take your pulse again. If your pulse rate has increased more than ten beats per minute, then you are allergic.
Are you kidding me? In this day and age, with all the information available regarding the dangers of food allergies, some people actually think this is a good idea? Once again, I just shake my head and hope that the people who do this sort of thing do it to themselve and not their kids.
Anybody else hear of crazy food allergy "solutions"?
December 1, 2006
Experience with Alternative Medicine to Eliminate Food Allergy Symptoms?
I received this message as a post looking for food allergy PR for a particular site. I am skeptical regarding these things and have had a So Cal friend talk about alterntive medicine solutions for my children's food allergies.
"...About 3 years ago, a technique was invented that allowed children and adults to be relieved of all allergy symptoms, permanently! I know that this sounds too good to be true... but it is. I, myself, have witnessed countless number of people who have walked through our door with allergies of all sorts coming in. From food to environmental to chemical to molds to dust... the list goes on and on. Even those suffering from anaphylactic reactions. That's right, let me repeat this, even those suffering from anaphylactic reactions have come through our door.
...I must admit that I too, was once an unbeliever in any form of allergy symptom removal. There is a way to test for the allergies through applied kinesiology and there is a way to remove the allergy symptoms through a new technique called electro-acupuncture, which has no penetration of the skin. This technique has only been licenced for use over the last three years....Results are guaranteed and 80% of the clients have their allergy symptoms removed on their first visit, permanently!"
Do any of our readers have experience (good/bad) with this type of food allergy symptom solution?
Please note: If you are in the biz of alternative medicine, please hold your thoughts... for now.
November 7, 2006
Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover
I clicked through to this article today Ways To Prevent Food Allergies only to find a generic description of food allergies. Yet another reminder that just because its published on the web, doesnt make it good. I was hoping to see some new information based on some research or personal experience. Not so with this author.
So, I decided to look up the author and guess what other articles I found by him?
Health Insurance – Peace Of Mind That Money Can Buy
The Risks Of Getting Your Body Pierced
Learning To Grow Bonsai Trees In Your Garden
Things To Have In Mind When Buying A Toolbox
Choosing The Right Pair Of Gold Earrings For Your Sweetie
Not exactly a food allergy expert. Hey, how about adding some value to the web? Now there's something to write about!
Thanks for letting me vent a little.
September 1, 2006
Arthur and Binky Sign a Deal to Help Food Allergic Kids
Kellie's Candies Nut-Free Confections Signs Licensing Agreement with Marc Brown Studios, Creator of the Childrens Charachter ARTHUR The Aardvark
Martha MacDougall, President and Owner of Kellie’s Candies Nut-Free Confections Inc., announced today their signing of a licensing agreement with Marc Brown Studios of Hingham, MA, creators of the popular children’s television program, Arthur™. The Woburn confectioner will produce nut-free chocolate bars bearing the likenesses of characters created by local author, Marc Brown. Sales of the nut-free bars have already begun at Kellie’s Candies website, www.nutfreecandy.com with proceeds being donated to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) of Alexandria, VA, and other groups that provide food allergy education and awareness programs. Last year, WGBH-TV in association with Marc Brown Studios, produced an episode of the famous cartoon titled “Binky Goes Nuts” where one of the characters, “Binky Barnes” learns he has a life-threatening peanut allergy. Martha MacDougall appears on the show with her daughter Kellie, who is the inspiration for the company and also suffers from a peanut allergy.
Kellie’s Candies Nut-Free Confections is a family owned company, with President Martha MacDougall and her husband, Tim, both of Wilmington, MA, running the daily operations from their new facility in Woburn, MA. All of their confections are nut-free and safe for the more than 3 million Americans with peanut and tree nut allergies. The signing of this licensing agreement with Marc Brown Studios will coincide with the launch of a new web page at www.nutfreecandy.com called “Helping Others” where profits from the sale of these products will be donated to specific charitable organizations. For further information, please contact either Martha or Tim MacDougall at 1-781-569-0601, or by email at email@example.com.
Posted by David at 4:40 PM
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 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 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
July 25, 2006
Even God Wants Us to Eat Safe - Gluten Free Mass?
Here's an interesting story that, to the non-food allergic many, may seem a bit on the humorous side. However, if you are a Christian suffering from Celiac Disease, there is nothing funny about it. It highlights the need for food allergic persons to take their entire environment into account.
* * * * * * *
Churchgoers want gluten-free wafers for communion service
By Niall Donald
Irish mass-goers suffering from a dangerous food allergy are going spiritually hungry... because they are allergic to communion wafers.
More than 40,000 people in Ireland have coeliac disease, and are allergic to cereal-based foods.
But Irish coeliac groups said their members cannot stomach communion wafers because they include gluten. They want gluten-free communion wafers to be avail able at all Irish churches.
Coeliac sufferer Catherine King people said people with the condition are often too embarrassed to ask the priest for wine before mass starts. She said coeliacs cannot drink the sacred wine because the priest breaks a piece of host into it during the service.
She said: "Priests say to go around to the sacristy before mass and ask for permission to receive the wine.
"But most coeliacs don't bother because of embarrassment and they don't want to disturb the priest."
Ms King said she sent a letter to All-Ireland Primate Dr Sean Brady asking for special hosts to be made available for coeliacs.
She said the Carmelites Order are the only Catholic order who cater for coeliacs.
She claimed Church bosses could buy the gluten-free hosts for just 3 cents each.
Posted by David at 5:07 AM
July 16, 2006
Hooray for Cherrybrook Kitchen's Brownies!
Cherrybrook Kitchen did it again!!! You see, I have a daughter with food allergies and her absolutely favorite dessert is brownies. My home-made brownies are the standby that she takes to every birthday party, school party, potluck, neighborhood get-together, campout, friend’s house, etc. as her safe alternative. It seems to ease the jealousy she feels when everybody else is eating the “dessert of the hour.” I have become pretty good at whipping off a batch of brownies on very short notice. This makes my daughter happy and helps with the whole living-with-food-allergies thing. The problem is that I have another daughter who is allergic to eggs and cannot eat my “absolutely wonderful, you should enter them in a contest” brownies. She sees me bake them often and hears people comment on how good they are. (Trust me, though, I am not a great chef. I just happened to stumble across a good recipe that I tweaked a bit.)
So, I have been trying for years to make an edible, egg-free brownie for my other daughter. I’ve tried many recipes, including FAAN’s recipes, and I just can’t seem to make them work. Cherrybrook Kitchen now has a fudge brownie mix that is egg, dairy, tree nut and peanut free! I made them yesterday and everybody loved them, including my children without allergies and my husband. The look on my daughter’s face almost brought tears to my eyes when she said, “I get to eat brownies now too, just like you guys.” She spends so much of her life hearing, “No, I’m sorry honey, it has (insert allergy here), we’ll get you something else.” I feel happy to say, “Yes, of course you can have a brownie!”
The brownies were easy to make; just add water, margarine and vegetable oil to the mix. It suggested baking the mix for 16 minutes for fudge-like brownies and 18 minutes for cake-like brownies. The brownies seemed too wet after 16 minutes, so I baked them a bit longer. They did resemble cake a bit more than chewy brownies, but tasted good nonetheless. Next time I will try the shorter cook time, let them cool and see if they come out more like a true brownie texture.
For now, my daughter is thrilled that she gets to eat brownies “like everybody else.” I will continue to order from Cherrybrook Kitchen and recommend them to everybody living with food allergies. They are very professional and friendly on the phone and ordering off their website was easy. They continue to add new products all the time. Check them out on the web or call them at 1-866-I-LUV-CBK. I know you’ll find something you like!
Posted by Ann Marie at 8:02 AM
July 11, 2006
Dealing with the Spam
I wanted to put a quick note on our Child Food Allergy blog to apologize to our users. In the past couple of weeks we have received hundreds (if not thousands) of spam track backs and comments. Cleaning this out has turned out to be a major time consuming activity and, in the process, some "real" comments and pings may have been deleted. For that, we apologize.
So, if you know a spammer, smack them on the back of head and ask them to add some value to this world.
Sincerely frustrated with spam,
Posted by David at 3:58 PM
July 6, 2006
The Twinkie Denial Incident
According to this article, food will again be allowed in classrooms in Milford public schools.
Originally the Board told teachers there was to be no food at all in the classroom lesson plans. Simple enough. Now they are tweaking the rules a bit.
Teachers were looking for a simpler way of handing exceptions to the rule. The ideas were recommended by teachers and the school medical staff, once again allowing food in classroom activities (although still no birthday party foods allowed). The kids' parents must sign-off on the policy at the beginning of the school year. The new rules apply only through grade 7.
Then the article goes off on a tagent, just like the politicians...
A controversial change, to allow teachers to provide students with a snack if the child forgets to bring one, was also approved by a 4-2 vote. Committee members Jonathan Bruce, Jose Costa, Patrick Kennelly and William Kingkade Jr., voted to allow teachers to provide the snacks....
"Looking around this table, none of us is starving," Kingkade said on Thursday night. "For a 6-year-old, not to have something to eat, not to be able to share a classmate's Twinkie, it is heartbreaking and something they remember."
Go ahead, you can read that part again. And we wonder why children in the U.S. are so obese?
It reminds me of my own childhood Twinkie denial incident... I knew that there was so much nutrition in that delicious creamy center and with a shelf-life of seven years, how could I be so cruely denied? The scars run deep I tell you.
So, go grab your political representative by the love handles and tell 'em you really care.
Posted by David at 3:33 PM
June 26, 2006
US Air Puts the Nuts Away Once and For All
US Airways recently announced they will stop serving peanuts on their flight... again.
The airline had stopped serving peanuts more than six years ago but started again after merging with America West in 2005. They are apparently serving the remainder of their peanut snack inventory but after they are gone that's it. They will then substitute pretzels or other peanut-free snacks.
They stated that they made the move again in response to growing complaints from passengers who are allergic to peanuts. So, it pays to be vocal about your food allergy concerns.
Posted by David at 11:27 AM
June 5, 2006
Banning nuts at a local stadium?
Here's a interesting editorial from the Edmunton Sun. I have to agree with the writer, the tail is waggin' the dog here. Unlike the West Michigan baseball team that created one peanut-free day, this stadium banned peanuts altogether. In my opinion, this ends up hurting the food allergy cause more than helping.
It looks like another case of a very small tail wagging a very large dog. Not an unusual state of affairs under the Sir Winston Churchill Square pyramids these days.
Without any apparent debate, forewarning or public consultation the city hall bureaucrats have taken action into their own hands and slapped a peanut-possession ban on patrons at Commonwealth Stadium.
This because one Eskimo fan wrote a letter of complaint about how her son with a peanut allergy gets "anxious" coming to the football games.
Even though Commonwealth is an outdoor stadium where we would have to assume peanut odour is quickly defused in the fresh air, city hall has ruled and the football club has fallen in line.
Commonwealth will now be a "peanut-free" facility and Eskimo season ticket holders will be warned to keep their nuts at home, or suffer the consequences.
In typical city hall fashion, nobody has a clue about how the ban will be enforced since there appears to be no bylaw in place to back it up.
And does this include candy bars with peanuts in them? Or what about fans who may have cooked a meal in peanut oil before attending a game? Are they going to be forbidden entry too, just in case they have a whiff of nuts on their clothes? The ridiculous length to which this argument can be taken knows no bounds.
The same kind of knee-jerk reaction occurred when city facility managers decided to cloak arena ice surfaces with a shroud of black mesh because a girl in the United States was struck by a puck and died.
Now parents must watch their kids play hockey and lacrosse through an annoying chicken wire screen in yet another case of severe city hall overreaction.
Although nobody is going to be seriously compromised by not having a sack of salted peanuts to munch while attending a football game, the arbitrary way the bureaucrats went about the nut ban raises some questions about who is in charge at city hall these days.
City councillors should have asked if the one child with the peanut allergy problem could have been accommodated without compromising the vast majority of Eskimo fans.
The question must also be raised, if peanuts are dangerous in Commonwealth, why can they be safely consumed in other city facilities? Or even on the street? Should they even be sold to the general public?
Certainly living with an allergy - whether it be peanuts or an array of other substances - can seriously restrict one's lifestyle. But in the Commonwealth case it appears to negatively impact large numbers of other people as well.
It's time for city council's peanut gallery to give Edmontonians some straight answers.
Posted by David at 11:52 AM
May 27, 2006
Take me out to the ballgame - peanut free
The old, familiar song about baseball goes "... buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks...," but on Wednesday, June 1st, you won't be able to find either of those food items at Fifth Third Ballpark. That day, the Whitecaps will be hosting their fourth annual Peanut Free Baseball Game to give peanut allergic children the opportunity to experience the great American pastime.
"We held our first peanut free baseball game in 2003 after a local mother inquired about the possibility of us not selling peanuts for one day so her son could come to the game," said Whitecaps director of food and beverage Matt Timon. "We received so much positive feedback that first year that we decided to make it an annual event. We won't sell peanuts or nuts of any kind anywhere in the ballpark. We'll also be giving the whole ballpark a thorough cleaning the night before to try to take care of any peanut residue. While we won't sell or cook peanuts that day, the Whitecaps can't guarantee that there won't be peanut residue in the park or that other fans won't sneak peanuts into the ballpark."
While one child was the initial impetus for the peanut free game in 2003, the Whitecaps found that dozens of peanut allergic children took advantage of the opportunity. According to a recent study by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, more than three million Americans suffer from a peanut allergy. For those people, being around a peanut or even a peanut shell can be life threatening.
"This is an important day for us," said Timon. "Our vendors who sell peanuts and other peanut products have been incredibly supportive and they're just as excited as we are to be able to offer this opportunity to people who would not normally be able to come to the ballpark."
During the Thursday, June 1st School Day Game, peanuts will not be available at any concession area, including the suite level. Timon and his staff will also pull roasted almonds, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kat Bars, nutty cones, sunflower seeds and nut topping for the soft serve ice cream from the menu.
May 16, 2006
A Word of Caution About the New Food Labeling Law
The new allergen food labeling law has only been in effect since the beginning of the year. It has raised plenty of issues with an overall positive influence for parents of children with food allergies.
A word of caution... there will still be many foods still packaged with labels printed before the law. Parents of children with food allergies should be just as vigilant as before when screening for foods with potentially dangerous ingredients. Read the labels carefully and, when in doubt, call the manufacturer. Most manufacturers who are in tune with food allergies are glad to give straight answers over the phone.
May 1, 2006
Positive media on new labeling law
Here's yet another high level story about the new labeling law. It misses the discussion about manufactures that already catered to the food allergy community are now forced into confusing labeling by the law. This time from a Seattle news station...
Food labeling helps fight food allergies
If you have a food allergy, you know grocery shopping can be exhausting. You never know if what makes you sick will pop up in a product you wouldn't expect. Now, a new change in food labeling takes out the guesswork.
Most of us take eating for granted. Not Jeanne McGrady. Every day she's challenged to find foods that won't make her sick. "It's like a diet if you're trying to lose weight; you have to retrain the way you're thinking about food," she says.
McGrady's allergy to wheat is so severe, just a small amount wipes her out. "I get very nauseous, and I'm extremely tired, but the worst thing that happens to me is I feel like my bones are rotting."
Thirty-thousand people end up in emergency rooms each year because of food allergy reactions. About 150 die. Part of the problem is allergens buried in the ingredient list in scientific jargon make labels unclear ... But not anymore.
"They don't have to look at a food label and be confused," says Alana Booth, R.D., of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.
A new law requires food manufacturers to clearly list any amount, even a trace, of eight common foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. They make up 90 percent of all food allergens.
McGrady says, "I can go right down to the bottom where it says allergy information and find out if I can eat it or not."
Food manufacturers must now use wording that's easy to understand. That's especially helpful for spotting allergens in foods you wouldn't expect, like wheat in licorice, soy in hot dogs, and nuts in mint chocolate cookies.
"I read every single label because you just never know," McGrady says, because now it's easier for her to be sure.
Products that were already out before the law went into effect did not have to change their labels, so there are still some old labels on store shelves. The transitional period may last up to 18 months. The new labels have the allergen list at the bottom of the ingredient list in bold.
Posted by David at 8:09 AM
April 18, 2006
Emotional Rollercoaster of Flying on US Airways
When Greg Robino, 36, of Downingtown, recently decided to take his family on vacation to visit relatives in Texas, his main concern amounted to peanuts. Greg Robino’s son, 4-year-old Nathan, is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, long-known as the traditional mid-flight snack of commercial airlines.
But he and wife, Heather, did their homework. Greg Robino, a software salesman and frequent flier, said a customer service representative assured him that the flight crew could accommodate Nathan by not serving peanuts in the rows around his seat.
On the morning of the March 24 flight, Greg Robino said he was even told that attendants would go the extra step and not serve any peanuts on the flight as a precaution.
"Then the head flight attendant told us that they were required to serve peanuts by company policy. In fact, she used the word required several times. And I just didn’t understand that," he recalled.
The Robinos asked to speak to a customer service representative at Philadelphia International Airport, but they soon learned that the flight crew would not allow Nathan to board the plane anyway, as not to risk an in-flight medical emergency.
"We were on an emotional roller-coaster. We weren’t going to risk our son’s health anyway, and then they concluded that we could not go on even if we wanted to," he said. "My kids were devastated. They had been looking forward to this for months."
Phil Gee, a spokesman for US Airways, said the airline does not differentiate between what snacks are served.
"It’s kind or hit or miss," Gee said. "It depends on where the flight was last catered whether it serves peanuts or pretzels."
He defended the company’s stance, saying there was not a way that any airline could guarantee a peanut-free flight for those with severe food allergies.
"We’ve come to the realization that even if we didn’t serve peanuts we could not guarantee that no one would bring them on board. We would have to search every passenger and sanitize every flight," Gee said. "There may be some airlines today that do not serve peanuts on flights, but no one can guarantee a peanut-free flight."
But the Robinos are not alone. About 1,689,000 Americans have peanut allergies, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN).
The same applies to tree nuts, meaning the number of Americans with both is more than 3 million. In addition, children can be particularly vulnerable to food allergies.
There are more than 2 million American children (ages 6 to 18) with food allergies, according to FAAN.
And the prevalence of peanut allergy in children doubled in the five-year period from 1997 to 2002, and the trend shows not sign of stopping.
"Fly at your own risk," is what Kim Easterday, of East Fallowfield, said she was told by US Airways representatives, while planning a May vacation to Walt Disney World for her family.
Kim Easterday’s son, 5-year-old Eddie Jr., is allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts.
"They couldn’t accommodate us. They have finally refunded the airfare. But it is hard to find someone else. There are only peanut-friendly airlines, there are not many peanut-free airlines. And I am concerned about the (peanut) dust," she said.
Kim Easterday said her family has learned to deal with Eddie’s allergies, though it is not easy to be a kid when a peanut-butter cookie can be like a hand-grenade.
"It is hard and I feel bad for him. He cannot eat cake at a birthday party and has to be careful with candy on Halloween," she said. "But I’ve learned to pack a snack ahead of time and we live with it."
Of course, travel does not make the situation any easier.
But the Easterdays are determined to get to Orlando, even if they have to rent a car and drive down, she said.
The Robinos, however, have yet to reschedule their vacation plans.
But Greg Robino said he plans to file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division on the basis that his family was prohibited from boarding due to his son’s peanut allergy, which qualifies as a disability.
According to the FAAN website, www.foodallergy.org, airlines that do not serve peanut snacks include: American, United, Northwest, Jet Blue, Spirit and ATA.
March 25, 2006
Thoughts on New Food Labeling Law
For those of you who have been reading labels for food allergies, are you frustrated now? The following excerpts are from FAAN’s website. They were written in the article Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About FALCPA by Martin Hahn, Esq., and Meg McKnight, Esq.
“The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004 was passed to ensure that individuals, particularly parents of children with food allergies and others providing food to those children, could easily and accurately identify food ingredients that may cause allergic reactions. Under FALCPA, allergen declarations must be written in plain English…by placing the word “Contains” followed by the name of the food source…or…by placing the common or usual name of the allergen in the list of ingredients. The law applies to food products that are labeled on or after January 1, 2006.”
How much more excited can we be that it’s easier now more than ever to feel safe about the foods we’re feeding our children!
I have always used Ener G Foods as a reliable source for my wheat, egg, nut, etc. allergic child. According to their website, they are “a wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut free, kosher certified facility.” I’m in! But their previously nut free egg replacer powder (which works great for replacing eggs in certain recipes) now carries a nut warning. Bummer! So I called Ener G Foods to see if they were going to change their process so the egg replacer would be nut free again. I was directed to this on their website:
Ener G Foods Allergen Statement
”All products manufactured by Ener-G Foods, Inc. are subject to our HACCP program. …by being a HACCP compliant facility, all risks of cross contamination, or even any food safety issue will be completely eliminated.”
The Ener G Foods customer service rep told me that their manufacturing process for the product had not change. That basically it was still manufactured on a line that made a tree nut product, but that there was not a risk of cross contamination. OK, then why did they add the warning? Here’s my frustration: Do I use the product because I always have and never had a problem? Or do I avoid it, out of fear?
I understand it’s all about CYA for the businesses. But what about the consumers? We feel safer now with the foods we feed our kids, but the “safe-food-pool” seems to be dwindling. Even some of the pretzels I used to buy for my other food allergic daughter (only eggs and peanuts) now contain traces of peanuts. Is it a new manufacturing process, or are the companies just letting us know now how they really do things? Can my kids still eat those foods? Or did the risk all of a sudden go up just because my knowledge changed?
AHHHHH! Sometimes I just feel like screaming! It’s that rollercoaster ride again. So, for the time being, I go back to making things from scratch, wondering how long it will be until they find a cure!
February 23, 2006
A Fantastic Kids' Book Find!
YEA!! There is a new food allergy book written for kids that is FANTASTIC!! It’s by far one of the best kids’ food allergy books that I’ve read (and I’ve read many over the last 8 years!) It’s called Peter Can’t Eat Peanuts by Nadine O’Reilly. She is a school psychologist and a mother of a peanut allergic child.
The book has cute pictures and fun, rhyming text. It covers the basics of having an anaphylactic food allergy at a level even young kids can understand. The book talks about having a reaction and going to the hospital, carrying an Epi-Pen, reading ingredients, talking with teachers, not sharing food at school and most importantly, learning to say “No, thank you.” Your kids will really identify with Peter. When learning about his allergy, he feels sad and asks “Did I do something bad?” The doctor answers, “Of course not” and explains how all bodies are different and this is just Peter’s thing.
The book is available at her website, access4allergickids.com. Also available at the same website are note cards that read: Thank you for accommodating our child’s food allergy…
I wish this book was written 8 years ago! It’s a great book for preschool and early elementary school teachers to read to the class. And it is a definite must-have in your food allergy library.
Posted by Ann Marie at 1:41 PM
January 22, 2006
Great allergy free cake and cookie mixes!
Isn’t it frustrating trying to find easy-to-make desserts without eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts and/or wheat? Here’s much deserved kudos to an allergy friendly company! Cherrybrook Kitchen offers baking mixes just like the ones Betty Crocker and Pillsbury have. Their mixes are free of most allergens and SO EASY to make! Just add oil, water and vanilla and voila, “cookies, cakes and frostings that will have your family and friends with or without allergies asking for more!” You don’t even need to get out the heavy mixer, just a wire whisk does the trick. How much easier and more convenient can you get?! They are reasonably priced and if you check out their website, you can even print a coupon.
I make a batch of cupcakes and freeze them. When there is a birthday celebration in my daughter’s class, I just take one out of the freezer for her to bring to school. I frost and decorate the cupcakes differently (vanilla or chocolate frosting, with or without sprinkles) so she can choose which cupcake she wants. It helps her feel happier even though she can’t eat what the rest of the class is eating. I also do the same thing with their cookie mixes. The sugar cookies can be eaten plain, rolled in sugar or frosted and they all taste good. We sometimes even put a Hershey’s Kiss on top for a special treat.
I also need to say that these are by far the best wheat and egg free cakes, cupcakes and cookies that my family has ever tried! Yes, even my children without food allergies ask to have more of these treats. It makes my daughter with food allergies feel good that her sisters want “her” food for a change!
These mixes make baking so easy that I sometimes put a wheat, egg and nut free cake in the oven when we sit down for dinner and we have a great dessert that EVERYONE enjoys. I can’t say enough good things about this company. Their customer service department has always been helpful and their website makes ordering online quick and easy. I encourage you to check out cherrybrokkkitchen.com and see for yourself! I am always happy to pass on even just one thing to make our jobs as allergy-free chefs a little bit easier! : )
Posted by Ann Marie at 2:23 PM
January 17, 2006
Mixed Nut Recall Because of Peanuts?
Fisher recently issued a warning regarding Fisher Brand Deluxe Mixed Nuts and are recalling the nuts due to undeclared peanuts in the mix. We always appreciate when manufacturers step up and take care of problems.
In this case, if you have a peanut allergy, you surely are not eating from a "deluxe" mix of nuts... are you? We thought not. Our readers are much too bright for that. ;-)
Posted by David at 8:10 PM
December 6, 2005
Use common sense when it comes to foods
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has a great service of email alerts when a manufacture discovers a mislabeling on one of their products. You should subscribe to this service.
Sometimes, however, we see these notices and ask, "Yeah, but what parent with a food allergy child would buy this stuff?" Here's an example
Special Allergy Alert Notice
PECAN ALLERGY ALERT
September 14, 2005
Dancing Deer Baking Co. is recalling its 20-oz. Maple Pumpkin Cranberry Cake due to undeclared pecans. Maple Pumpkin Cranberry Streusel Cakes were mislabeled with a Maple Pumpkin Cranberry Cake label which did not contain pecans.
Now, I'm sure that the people at Dancing Deer Baking Co. are very nice (I mean, just look at the company name). It's just that with 8 plus years experience of keeping our kids safe, we tend to stick with either the major food companies or the real specialists. If Kraft or Hersheys, for instance, put something on their label, you can be pretty sure its not a mistake (yes, I know they've made some mistakes too, not very often though). The same is true for Cherry Brook Kitchen, their business RELIES on getting the ingredients right every time.
So, if your child has a severe food allergy, make good choice about what foods you bring into your home and avoid the panic when you get the FAAN email alerts.
November 23, 2005
Ignorance in the press
Well, our uneducated press is at it again, this time attacking the topic of peanut allergy with little knowledge of the topic. Apparently no research is required before getting any article published in The Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Freedom of speech or just not enough news in HI to fill the web page? Anyhow, let’s take a closer look at the would-be-funny-if-it-had-some-intelligence-built-in article.
After comparing the pending bird flu pandemic to the “lowly peanut” the author goes on to say this...
A peanut allergy can be so severe that if a kid even sees a picture of a peanut in a magazine, he can go into shock.
Well that’s a new one for me, someone who has research the topic and is pretty familiar with the extreme cases. Maybe he was confused, maybe someone had some form of a sleep apnea attack after reading one of his articles?
Students who want to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches soon will be relegated to lunch tables in the parking lot (near the smoking teachers).
Okay, I’ll admit, the picture this paints has some element of humor in it. You know, the 40 year old teacher with the rough voice and leathery skin saying to a student at the end of the table with jelly stains on his shirt, “Hey kid. Pass the ashtray, would ya.”
I suspect it has something to do with the decrease in breast-feeding in favor of chemical-laden baby "formulas." One purpose of breast feeding is to pass on to the child immunities enjoyed by the mother, or at least her taste for spicy foods.
You suspect? Well, given your intense research and knowledge of this topic, we readers really appreciate your insights here.
The fact is, not a lot of kids are dying from peanut exposure. Only 200 people nationally die each year from all types of allergic reactions.
I always love this stat. We, as a country, are now well educated on the dangers of severe food allergies and are much more prepared to handle them. So, now that the number of cases have grown exponentially (and we still don’t know why) yet only 200 people die from exposure, we should kick back and let up on our efforts to keep the kids safe. Sounds like a great idea, eh?
And many people grow out of allergies. I was allergic to eggs when I was a kid. But my dad seemed to have so much fun eating a soft-boiled egg (chipping off the little top of the egg, spooning the gooey mess onto toast) that I willed myself to overcome the allergy. Maybe kids suffering from "peanut envy" when they see other children enjoying a PB&J sandwich eventually will overcome their allergic reactions to the lowly legume.Another great misnomer is that all allergies are outgrown. Okay, one more time for those who have done little to no research (that would be you, Mr. Honolulu)… peanut allergy is rarely outgrown and tends to become more severe with every exposure. Childhood egg or milk allergies are often outgrown. Good thing your dad didn’t like shelling peanuts at home and throw the shells on the floor, eh?
Posted by David at 9:34 AM
November 21, 2005
Humor and child food allergies
In the book May Contain Nuts the author mixes up the neurotic parenting approach with keeping kids with food allergies safe in an attempt to add humor to his book. The author, John O'Farrell, is a well know satirist in Britain and his book has received very favorable reviews - so good, in fact, I might just order it.
"With a comic eye for detail that has sent his books to the top of the British best-seller lists, May Contain Nuts is a funny, compelling, and provocative satire of the manic world of today’s overcompetitive, overprotective families."source: Amazon.com
The story is about parents who are looking to give their kids every edge in life. The problem is, the harder they push, the more the more they worry about their kids. Are the foods my kids eat or the amount of exercise they get hindering their child’s mental development?
The problem is their kids don't have food allergies and the "May Contain Nuts" title comes from the mother fretting over a label that says that, when, in fact, it is a label on a jar of nuts.
So, if you read the book, let us know if its funny. And for those of us who do have kids with real food allergies, lets be careful of how we portray ourselves in our own life story.
Now, if Mr. O'Farrell could just change the title....
Posted by David at 9:07 AM
August 25, 2005
Are my kids "normal"? Please don't do that to your child.
Ok, sometimes I see articles on child food allergies and think, "this is great, more public exposure to the issue is a good thing." Then I read further and see things like this...
"It does take extra planing and work, but result is she can go and live like a normal person."
This article when on to say how the school was helpful in managing her child’s food allergy but when parent complained too much about the rigidity of the plan, they moved the child to a private school.
I think sometimes us parents of a kid with a food allergy simply screw it up for ourselves. If we go in like a bull in a china shop and make demands on schools and other parents (most of whom will never quite “get it”), then bad things happen. The worst thing that can happen is our child is no longer viewed as “normal”. Things like banning a food from the school or even the classroom can backfire and give you a false sense of security.
Here’s some unsolicited advice for parents whose child with a food allergy are entering school for the first time… don’t be one of those over-the-edge parents (like we once were). Find a parent (or 2 or 3) in the school whose child has been there for several years. Find out what works and what doesn’t in terms of communication and implementation of the food allergy management plan. You can also email us anytime, we’re glad to help.
Posted by David at 9:35 AM
August 5, 2005
Kudos to Ener-G Foods!
I just had a great customer experience and wanted to share it with those who may benefit. Among other foods, my daughter is allergic to wheat and tree nuts. Somedays it feels so overwhelming to me that I cry. I'm thinking about her starting kindergarten in a few weeks and I just want to be able to make her a sandwich for lunch! The one wheat-free bread that she actually likes recently changed their packaging to include "processed on the same equipment as tree nuts." Get the tissue box!
Ener-G foods sells a wide variety of gluten, wheat and dairy-free products. I've ordered crackers from them in the past, which are actually pretty good. Even my daughters who aren't allergic to wheat ask for them. I called for their help, still trying to make that sandwich! The woman in customer service was awesome! She not only recommended several breads that most kids like, she offered to ship me samples for free. No way!
The samples came to the house today. I now have four neatly packaged possibilties on which to make sanwiches! I know I can't give them to Kristine all at once, but the wait is killing me! I'm so anxious to find out which one she likes. There's still time to order a loaf before school starts! : )
For anyone looking for wheat-free products, I strongly recommend Ener-G Foods. They are good at labeling other allergens as well, in case you have to pay attention to multiple food allergies like me.
I hope this helps all of you who may be searching for that perfect sandwich!